Palmdale, California – On February 23, 2024, at 6:32 a.m., Palmdale Station deputies swiftly responded to a distress call reporting an assault with a deadly weapon at a gas station located in the 13000 block of Pearblossom Highway in Unincorporated Pearblossom. The caller reported that a male individual, later identified as 30-year-old Joseph Westley Henson, was armed with a sharp object and threatening a customer with potentially fatal consequences if she did not summon the authorities.

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Upon arrival, deputies encountered Henson walking away from the gas station, clutching a sharp object in his hand. Despite repeated commands to drop the weapon and show his hands, Henson adamantly refused to comply. The deputies, determined to de-escalate the situation, trailed Henson in their vehicle as he proceeded eastbound toward another nearby business establishment.

In their persistent efforts to gain Henson’s compliance, the deputies continued to engage him verbally, issuing additional commands. However, Henson brazenly declared, “You’re going to have to shoot me.” Adding further cause for concern, Henson advanced towards the deputies while concealing his right hand inside the front left chest area of his jacket, intentionally simulating possession of a weapon. In response to this imminent threat, a deputy-involved shooting occurred.

Following the discharge of firearms, Henson attempted to flee from the deputies, triggering a brief foot pursuit that ended at the front entrance of the nearby business, where he ultimately fell to the ground.

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Sustaining several gunshot wounds, Henson was immediately provided first aid by the deputies until the arrival of paramedics from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. However, despite their best efforts, Henson could not be revived, and he was pronounced deceased upon arrival at a local hospital.

Law enforcement officers recovered a precision pick/hook at the scene. Thankfully, no other individuals were injured during the incident, ensuring the safety of innocent bystanders nearby.

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As per standard practice, an investigation has been initiated to thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident. The Palmdale Station deputies involved in the deputy-involved shooting will be placed on administrative leave, consistent with department policy, while the investigation unfolds.

The incident serves as another example of the crucial role law enforcement plays in maintaining public safety, often in unpredictable and potentially life-threatening situations. Authorities are dedicated to providing a thorough and transparent examination of the events leading up to this encounter.

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