College of the Desert student to be sentenced for role in fatal burglary
Sheriff's deputy shot and killed former COD football player during break-in
A College of the Desert student is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for his role in a Palm Desert break-in that ended with the fatal shooting of a COD football player by a sheriff's deputy.
Dyrenell Kardia Robinson, 21, pleaded guilty last month to a felony robbery charge in connection with a robbery at an apartment complex in the 77000 block of Michigan Drive on Feb. 23, 2012. He has been held custody in lieu of $500,000 bail and is expected to be sentenced this morning to three years in prison.
Co-defendant and former COD football player Roman Robert Tausaga, 23, on Jan. 11 pleaded guilty to one count each of robbery and making criminal threats, both felonies, and was immediately sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The third suspect in the break-in, 20-year-old Frank Tanuvasa, jumped a deputy while fleeing the robbery scene and was fatally shot in the chest in the ensuing struggle, sheriff's Sgt. Joe Borja said.
Borja said the first deputy who arrived at the scene of the robbery saw three men dressed in dark clothes run from the area. He chased them on foot until they separated, then followed two suspects who ran west on Michigan Street. He lost sight of them as they ran around an apartment building, Borja said.
"As the officer turned the corner of the apartment building, he was attacked without warning by one of the two fleeing suspects," later identified as Tanuvasa, Borja said.
"During the next several moments, the officer was engaged in a life-or- death struggle with a much larger and stronger Tanuvasa," Borja said.
During the fight, Tanuvasa struck the officer with his fist, dislocating the officer's shoulder. He "(dragged) the officer to the ground and made numerous attempts to take his duty weapon from his holster. The officer was ultimately able to maintain control of his handgun and shot Tanuvasa in self- defense, fearing for his life," Borja said.
Tanuvasa, a 6-foot-6, 370-pound sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska, received a single gunshot wound to the chest and later died at Eisenhower Medical Center, Borja said.
The deputy, whose name was not released, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is sheriff's department policy in deputy-involved shootings, sheriff's Cpl. Angel Ramos said.
Tausaga was arrested the day of the burglary and Robinson was arrested March 1, 2012. Both are from Palm Desert.
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