Kyle Sostek Died In Sugarloaf (Unincorporated Big Bear) Police Shooting After Police Pursuit

BIG BEAR, CALIFORNIA (July 20, 2023) – A 24-year-old man identified as Kyle Sostek has tragically died in a Big Bear police shooting after a pursuit that ended at a dead-end road.

San Bernardino County officials are saying that the incident took place around 1:57 a.m. on Sunday. Kyle Sostek was driving a vehicle and allegedly had an outstanding arrest warrant before being stopped by deputies.

After initially yielding, the suspect took off and led officers on a pursuit. The pursuit ended when he drove onto a dead-end road.

After Kyle Sostek exited his vehicle, he was struck by gunfire. First responders began life-saving measures, but he could not be revived and was pronounce dead at the scene.

The California attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting as required under AB 1506 because the victim was unarmed. All fatal shootings of unarmed civilians by law enforcement must be investigated under the statute.


Liability For San Bernardino County Police Shootings

California has one of the highest instances of police shootings in the United States. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “About 195 people die each year from interactions with California law enforcement. Gunshots are by far the most common cause of death: nearly 250 people are shot by police each year.” People suffering from mental health issues are statistically 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than someone in the general population. There are a number of steps that police departments should take in order to reduce the number of fatal police shootings.

  • Police officers should be trained to identify when a suspect is going through a mental health crisis.
  • Police officers should be trained to understand when a suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Police officers should have access to less-lethal measures like tasers.
  • Police officer should be trained to de-escalate encounters with suspects.

The ability to use lethal force is one of the most consequential powers that police officers possess. This power must be exercised with great discretion. Pursuant to California AB 392, “That the authority to use physical force, conferred on peace officers by this section, is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life.” Every person in California has a right to be free from the use of excessive force which is exercised under the color of law.

Consider, for example, the tragic death of Keita “Iggy” O’Neil. Mr. O’Neil was allegedly involved in the theft of a California Lottery van. He was pursued by police to the corner of Fitzgerald Avenue and Griffith Street where he reached a dead end. He got out of the vehicle and was running when he was shot by a police officer who was inside of his patrol vehicle. Sadly, he died after the shooting and his family reached a settlement with the county. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any instance of excessive force by police officers.

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Body camera footage from all officers involved should be sought.
  • The pre-shooting actions of the officers involved should be determined.
  • An experienced civil rights advocate should be consulted.

The actions and decisions of a police officer leading up to a shooting can render their use-of-force unreasonable. This is true even if an officer’s use of force appeared reasonable if it were viewed in isolation. The family of any person that died in a police shooting may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. Police departments are not above the law and can be held accountable for the excessive force of their officers.


Investigating San Bernardino County Police Shootings

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Kyle Sostek. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be a thorough investigation into why the police shot and killed this man while he was unarmed.

Do you need more information about a San Diego County police shooting? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We focus entirely on helping people harmed by police abuses and government neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after a police shooting we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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