Search Crews Face Difficult Terrain, Gunfire in California Manhunt

PHOTO: Authorities are searching a remote area near Bakersfield, California for a man wanted in the shooting of two sheriffs deputies, a murder and kidnapping.PlayABCNews
WATCH California Officials Hunt for Suspected Murderer, Kidnapper

Authorities in California are searching a remote area for a man wanted in the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies, a killing and a kidnapping.

The suspect was first spotted July 28 in the wilderness east of Bakersfield. Authorities say the unidentified man held three men hostage.

Two days later, a retired dentist was found shot to death inside his cabin about 10 miles away.

Two SWAT team members were also shot Saturday while searching for the suspect in an abandoned mobile home. Their injuries are not live-threatening.

Authorities described the fugitive as a white man in his early 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, with long brown hair, blue eyes and wearing a brown corduroy hat and green bandanna.

The search has been difficult because of the terrain and suspect’s demeanor, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

“It makes it very problematic for us to conduct a search, because we do know he’s willing to engage law enforcement with a gun,” Youngblood said.

Search crews are narrowing in on a 5-mile radius of remote desert, and residents in the area are on lockdown. The search covers peaks as high as 7,000 feet, with temperatures reaching triple-digits.

Officials say they are counting on the suspect to slip up.

“What we’re kind of hoping is that he doesn’t stay hydrated, and you start making mistakes,” Youngblood said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.