Add’l Officer-Involved Shooting Details Released

The masked man who died following an officer-involved shooting after Bakersfield police say he robbed the downtown Wells Fargo at 22nd and L streets has been identified by the Kern County Coroner’s Office as 26-year-old Leland Smithson of Lancaster.

Sgt. Joe Grubbs says it’s not clear if police gunfire led to Smithson’s death, or if he shot himself in the head.

“At this point, it’s unknown,” he said. “The investigation is continuing, and there’s an autopsy scheduled (for Thursday) that will hopefully clarify some of that.”

The shooting happened after Smithson crashed his car into a tree at East 18th and Owens late Tuesday morning, and he was pronounced dead less than two hours later at Kern Medical Center.

The officer that fired at Smithson is on paid leave.

– Anthony Pollreisz