Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man suspected of shooting and wounding a deputy at a Sonoma Valley car wash this morning. Ryan Joseph Pritel, a 20-year-old Sonoma resident, was arrested for attempted murder and carrying a loaded firearm in public.
Shortly before 11 a.m., deputies went to the Jolly Washer/Union 76 gas station in the 19200 block of state Highway 12 after the manager called and said one of his employees was acting strangely, sheriff’s officials said.
The manager also said the employee appeared to have a BB gun tucked into his waistband, according to sheriff’s officials. Three deputies assigned to the Sonoma Police Department went to the car wash and found Pritel standing behind a gray pickup truck in the carwash line, acting suspiciously, sheriff’s officials said.
A deputy walked toward Pritel to speak with him. Pritel then saw the deputy, allegedly pulled out a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and shot him at least once, according to sheriff’s officials. The deputy returned fire but didn’t hit Pritel, who ducked down behind the truck.
Sheriff’s officials said Pritel’s handgun jammed, he threw it down and the deputies took him into custody.
Pritel allegedly fired a projectile with multiple pellets, commonly called a “snake shot,” according to sheriff’s officials. Snake shot” is very small lead shot. The deputy was struck in several places on his body, sheriff’s officials said, but Pritel was not injured.
Deputy Mike Matelli was flown by helicopter to the hospital. He was treated for multiple injuries but has has since been released. The other two deputies on the scene were Greg Hals and Mike Schemmel.
“All deputies are doing well given this traumatic situation and are currently on paid administrative leave,” said Sonoma Police Chief Brett Sackett. “We have had tremendous community support and the Sheriff’s Office family appreciates all the community concern.”
Detectives with Santa Rosa Police are still seeking witnesses and are asking anyone with information to contact them at 707-543-3590.