Orange County DA's Office
A Rancho Santa Margarita man who authorities say led them on a high-speed chase before being shot five times by a sheriff’s deputy has filed a claim against Orange County disputing the deputy’s version of events -- and accusing county employees of engaging in a cover-up to protect the deputy who shot him.
Authorities say that on March 10, 20-year-old Dennis Mueller was spotted by Deputy Manuel Cruz riding his motorcycle at recklessly high speeds. Mueller allegedly evaded Cruz by running red lights and traveling more than 100 miles per hour -- charges that Mueller denies -- but the deputy says he recognized the motorcyclist and went to confront him at his home on Meadow Park Lane.
According to Cruz’s version of events, Mueller saw the deputy and reached for something in his waistband, prompting Cruz to draw his firearm and shoot him five times in the arm and torso. Mueller recovered, but may permanently lose the use of his left hand.