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San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

Press Release

DATE/TIME:  Monday, May 12, 2014


INCIDENT:    Homicide Investigation


LOCATION:  9600 block of Santa Fe Fire Road, Lucerne Valley


VICTIM:         John Gonzalez, 50, Lucerne Valley


SUSPECT:   John Sterling Payton, 49, Lucerne Valley 


***UPDATE June 24, 2014***


On Thursday, June 5, 2014, John Sterling Payton was arrested on a murder warrant in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the murder of Gonzalez.  He was extradited back to California on Thursday, June 19, 2014, and booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.      


On Monday, May 12, 2014, at about 12:20 p.m., deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - Victor Valley Station were dispatched to the report of a shooting at the 9600 block of Santa Fe Fire Road, in the city of Lucerne Valley.  When deputies arrived they located a male victim deceased on the property.   The Sheriff’s Homicide Detail was requested and assumed the investigation.  Although the victim has been identified, next of kin have not been located.  His identification will be withheld until proper notification is made.


Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Homicide Detail, Detective Joseph Janowicz or Sergeant Chris Fisher at (909) 387-3589.  Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at     


Refer:            Public Affairs Division

Phone No.:    (909) 387-3700

John McMahon, Sheriff-Coroner

San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division

655 E. Third Street

San Bernardino, California 92415-0061

Telephone: (909) 387-3700

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