The couple was exploring the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park when their ATV got a flat tire. They said that because they did not have a spare, they were traveling much slower than they would if they had four properly inflated tires. At around 11:00 p.m. on June 10, they came face to face with federal agents whom the Mejias said immediately opened fire on them. In a hail of bullets, Denise was struck in the head and hand before BLM agents ceased fire. Predictably, police are telling a different story.
A press release issued by the Riverside County Sheriff's Office, who is investigating the shooting, claimed that the Mejias were in a restricted area and failed to heed BLM officer commands to stop:
(A) Bureau of Land Management officer attempted to stop an off-road vehicle and an officer involved shooting occurred.
Incredulously, a detective with the department who is investigating the officer-involved shooting actually blamed the nearly murdered victims for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. RSO Investigator Armado Muñoz reportedly told KMIR News:
Muñoz says armed officers patrol the federal lands and it's important before you go off roading to know where you're going, "Before you go out and use those vehicles to make sure that you are driving them in a place where it's allowed ... sometimes people go out and assume that it's okay so we just encourage you to do some homework."