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

INDIO, Calif. -  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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