The San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy who shot an unarmed Riverside man in November was "certainly acting in self-defense," according to a report from the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

On Monday, November 19, deputies from the Hesperia station were called to the site of a single-vehicle traffic accident near the intersection of Highway 395 and Bolinas Street in Hesperia. The witness who called in the report allegedly told deputies he had tried to assist the pick-up truck's driver, Juventino Rodriguez, 50, but the Riverside man reportedly told him to back off and that he had a gun.

In a report released in March by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, Deputy District Attorney Gary W. Bailey said that the deputy who shot Rodriguez acted properly, given the situation.

"As the officers approached Suspect Rodriguez," Bailey's report reads in part, "All three of them observed the suspect to put his hands together, simulate holding a handgun, turn facing the officers and point towards them. Deputy Gregory Swoboda, fearing for his own safety and the safety of the other officers present, fired 4 to 6 rounds from his duty weapon."

Rodriguez fell to the ground. He reportedly continued to resist deputies and began yelling he had a gun and would not cooperate with them. He was Tasered and announced he did not actually have a handgun.

No weapon was found at the scene.

Rodriguez was charged with Resisting an Executive Officer by Use of Force or Violence and Threatening a Crime.

"During treatment and examination, Suspect Rodriguez was observed to have a gunshot wound to his lower back," the report reads in part. "It was located approximately four inches above his waistline. X-rays revealed a bullet lodged in the center of Rodriguez's back. During further treatment, a CT scan showed the bullet lodged near the L4 vertebrae, resulting in fractures to the spine. A toxicology report also showed the presence of cocaine in Suspect Rodriguez's system."

According to his sister, Mary Ellen Moore, Rodriguez is paralyzed from the waist down. According to Moore, her brother does not drink and has no history of substance abuse. Rodriguez's sole prior criminal conviction occurred in September 2005, when he was convicted of failing to wear a seatbelt.

"It is clear to this reviewer," the report concludes, "That Deputy Swoboda was certainly acting in Self-Defense when he fired at the suspect. Any reasonable person, knowing all the facts available to the officer, then being confronted by the suspect in a shooting stance and pointing his hands toward him, would also believe that he was about to be shot. It appears that Suspect Rodriguez was attempting to provoke the officers into shooting him."

Rodriguez is scheduled to have a pre-trial hearing on July 16.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.