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Man Killed By Park Rangers In Big Sur Was Wanted For Murder

The man shot and killed by park rangers in Big Sur last weekend was wanted for murder in the Bay Area.

Kevin Anthony Alaniz, 26, was camping at the summit of Mount Manuel Trail at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Saturday.  That evening, two hikers encountered him. They got a bad feeling and decided to turn back. That’s when the hikers said Alaniz began shooting at them. 

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office is investigating this officer involved shooting. At a press conference Thursday, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said one of the hikers reported hearing four or five gunshots.  

One of which whizzes past his head and strikes a tree,” said Pacioni.

Once the hikers got cell service, they called 911. Three California State Parks rangers responded. First, Supervisor Mathew Khalar and Officer Brian Powell, then Officer Bernadette Davis.

While waiting for backup, they spotted Alaniz walking down the trail, shirtless with a backpack. The rangers announced themselves and directed Alaniz to show his hands.

Instead, they said Alaniz ran toward them. Pacioni described what Officer Powell reported.

“He observed Mr. Alaniz remove a black handgun from his right hand, from the waistband of the pants, and point it in the officer's direction. Officer Powell yelled ‘gun,’ several times and heard what he believed to be the sound of a gunshot,” said Pacioni.

Both Officer Powell and Supervisor Khalar fired, killing Alaniz.

Pacioni said Alaniz had a loaded firearm that he legally bought in 2017 and over 300 rounds of ammunition in his backpack. She said the ammunition in the firearm was, “a particularly vicious type of ammunition.”

“They market it as ‘the last round you’ll ever need,” she added.

Alaniz was wanted for murder. California Highway Patrol Officer Ross Lee said Alaniz was the suspect in a car to car shooting on Interstate 680 near San Jose on June 17. That shooting left Matthew Rios, 33, dead.  According to Officer Lee, Alaniz and Rios knew each other.