The Napa County Sheriff’s Office reported that a deputy fatally shot an armed motorist in the south county Sunday night after the driver fired first.

The incident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on the 1100 block of Henry Road when the deputy stopped to investigate a parked car on the rural road. The male driver, who was seated behind the wheel, died at the scene, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

In a Monday afternoon press release, the Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, who has not been identified, fired the first shot from inside his car at the female deputy.

The deputy returned fire and the suspect died at the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said. The deputy was not injured.

The fatal encounter began when the deputy, who also has not been named, spotted the parked vehicle at 10:59 p.m. and got out to contact the driver, said Henry Wofford, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Six minutes later, “the deputy radioed that shots had been fired,” Wofford said. “The suspect was armed with a firearm.”

There was only the driver in the car, he said.

Investigators are reviewing the deputy’s body-worn camera footage that shows what happened prior to, during and after the incident, the Sheriff’s Office said in its press release.

The suspect’s next of kin have not yet been notified, delaying the release of his name, Wofford said.

The deputy has been put on paid administrative leave, which is the usual protocol for an officer-involved shooting, Wofford said.

The Sheriff’s Office has turned the investigation over to the Napa County Major Crimes Task Force for a full review, Wofford said.

The task force is composed of the Sheriff’s Office, Napa Police and the Napa County District Attorney’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office said it didn’t anticipate releasing additional details of the shooting before Wednesday afternoon.

This was the second officer-involved shooting in Napa County in less than three months.

On Dec. 5, an assault suspect was shot by a Napa police officer following a foot chase and a struggle over the officer’s rifle in a wooden area behind apartments on Soscol Avenue.

The Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident in which 27-year-old David Alexander Molina of Napa died at the scene.

Wofford said his department’s last officer-involved shooting was March 9 of last year when a deputy responded to hostage-taking at The Pathway Home on the Veterans Home grounds in Yountville.

Deputy Steven Lombardi exchanged gunfire with the intruder, who subsequently killed three staff members, then himself.

Sheriff’s deputies also fired their weapons in April 2017 while assisting Napa Police who were trying to stop Stephen Connard Ferry, 64, who was heavily intoxicated and shooting at his neighbors in west Napa’s Linda Vista neighborhood.

The DA cleared 13 law enforcement officers who used deadly force to stop Ferry.

Get the latest local news delivered daily directly to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.