San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

Press Release

DATE/TIME: March 12, 2016 / 11:16am 

INCIDENT: Penal Code 245(c) – Assault with a Deadly Weapon against Peace Officer

Penal Code 451 – Arson

LOCATION: 71700 block of Twentynine Palms Hwy, Twentynine Palms

SUSPECT: Michael Pace, 53 years, transient, Twentynine Palms

VICTIM(S): Deputy Raman Singh

Deputy Dennis Tollefson                         


On March 12, 2016 at approximately 11:16 a.m., the fire department and sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a brush fire behind the Stater Brothers store in Twentynine Palms. As the fire department dealt with several brush fires, deputies quickly received information from witnesses reporting a white male subject ran south from the incident location and witnesses provided deputies with additional physical and clothing description. Deputy A. Cantu was able to locate shoe tracks from where the witnesses saw the subject run from and began to track south through the open desert towards the foothills. Deputies R. Singh and D. Tollefson responded to the location to assist with the investigation and drove to the base of the foothills ahead of Deputy Cantu and they were able to locate a white male subject in the open desert matching the description of the subject who ran. Deputies would periodically lose visual of the subject as he approached the foothills. Smoke was seen at several locations were the subject was last seen. Deputies Singh and Tollefson approached the area on foot where the subject was last seen and located him in the rocks. As Deputies Singh and Tollefson approached the subject, the subject pulled out two throwing type knives (one in each hand) and brandished them. Deputy Singh approached the subject from the side and the subject threw one of the knives in Singh’s direction, but did not strike him. Deputy Tollefson quickly grabbed the subject’s other arm to disarm him and a struggle ensued. Deputies were able to subdue the subject and handcuffed him. Deputy Tollefson received a minor superficial scratch to his arm from the knife, requiring no medical aid. A Sheriff’s Department Arson/Bomb Detective responded to the scene and identified 10 separate small brush fires set by the suspect during this incident.


The subject was identified as Michael Pace, transient in Twentynine Palms. Pace was arrested for Penal Code 245(c) – Assault with a deadly weapon against a peace office and Penal Code 451 – Arson. Pace was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.


Refer: Deputy Armando Cantu

Station: Morongo Basin Station

Case #: 201600415

Phone No. (760) 366-4175

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