By Lt. Christene Zoucha, AA/Public Information Officer
Deuel Vocational Institution

A fleeing robbery suspect jumped into the wrong Ripon backyard when he selected the home of an off-duty Deuel Vocational Institution correctional officer.

While Officer Brian Berghorst was enjoying an evening of TV watching with his family on April 5, his wife yelled there was someone in their backyard.

Officer Berghorst spotted the man jump the fence into a neighbor’s backyard. The officer ran out his front door looking for the fleeing suspect.

Correctional Officer Brian Berghorst helped capture a fleeing robbery suspect.

Correctional Officer Brian Berghorst helped capture a fleeing robbery suspect.

A short time later, he spotted the suspect run away between two houses. The officer chased the suspect another block-and-a-half and was just about to tackle him when the suspect broke right and headed for a fence on the opposite side of the yard.

Officer Berghorst caught up to the suspect, who started to throw punches. The officer avoided his blows and blocked his punch. He grabbed the suspect and took him to the ground, holding him in a prone position.

Ripon Chief of Police Ed Ormonde was the first to arrive and assisted Officer Berghorst in detaining the suspect until other responding officers arrived.

The fleeing man was part of a larger group who had robbed a nearby Walgreens only minutes earlier.

“Officer Berghorst saw something not right and instead of letting it go, he took an active role in protecting not only his family (and) his neighbors, but the community as a whole. This is indicative of the members of our community. Office Berghorst was polite and professional in dealing with the suspect,” said Chief Ormonde. “We as a community are very appreciative to have Officer Berghorst and people like him in our community.”

According to the Ripon Police Department’s press release on the incident, “Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde arrived on scene within 90 seconds (of the robbery report) and he located the suspect vehicle. Four suspects fled from the vehicle and officers were involved in a short foot pursuit. The suspects ran through several backyards, damaging fences in their attempt to elude officers.”

The press release also credits the correctional officer.

“One citizen, an off-duty correctional officer, physically assisted officers in the apprehension of another suspect. Four suspects were taken into custody without incident. Prescription drugs containing hydrocodone and promethazine that were stolen from the Walgreens pharmacy were recovered in the suspect’s vehicle. The prescription drugs had an estimated street value of over $10,000. Marijuana was also located in the vehicle. One of the suspects who fled from officers was found to be in possession of cocaine,” the press release states.

DVI Warden Jerome Price praised the officer for his quick action.

“This was a very heroic act of bravery by Officer Berghorst,” Warden Price said. “I am glad the suspect was apprehended safely and without injury.”

Officer Berghorst started his career at CDCR on Sept. 29, 2006, at O.H. Close as a youth correctional officer. He transferred to DVI as a correctional officer on July 31, 2008, where he is employed to this day.