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Deputy sheriff in Southern California arrested on weapons, gang charges

In World
April 05, 2024

A 45-year-old deputy sheriff with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has been arrested and charged with numerous felony counts, including weapons violations and being a member of a criminal gang, authorities announced on Thursday.

The investigation into Deputy Sheriff Christopher Bingham, a resident of Twentynine Palms, and his association with an outlaw motorcycle gang began in January 2024, according to a SBSD news release.

When the 45-year-old was spotted on March 23 riding his motorcycle alongside two other gang members, authorities, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol, conducted a traffic stop on the trio.

“During a search of Bingham’s person, a loaded, unregistered firearm was located,” officials said. “Bingham was arrested and booked at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.”

Detectives with SBSD’s Gang and Narcotics Division then executed a search warrant at the deputy’s residence, where 160 firearms, including a fully automatic assault rifle with attached grenade launcher, were discovered.

Authorities also found silencers, a stolen SBSD shotgun, other “destructive devices” and gang paraphernalia.

After the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed charges of possession of a machine gun, a short-barreled rifle, a stolen firearm, silencers and grand theft, along with participation in a criminal street gang, a warrant for the deputy’s arrest was issued.

Bingham was taken into custody on April 4 at around 1 p.m. He was booked at the West Valley Detention Center. His bail was set at $500,000.

The arrest comes on the heels of several other high-profile incidents within the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff's deputy in Southern California arrested on weapons, gang charges

Sheriff’s deputy in Southern California arrested on weapons, gang charges

On April 2, deputies shot and killed a 17-year-old boy armed with a knife who was having a mental health crisis. Less than a month before that incident, on March 9, deputies shot and killed a 15-year-old boy with autism, whose family is now suing the department.

In late March, cellphone video captured a deputy brutally beating and kneeing a suspect in the face as several other deputies held the man down.

Earlier this week, newly released video of a September 2022 shootout between deputies and Anthony Graziano, who had abducted his teen daughter, appears to show deputies fatally firing on the 15-year-old girl as she was attempting to surrender and escape her father.

In a press conference earlier this week, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said all of the incidents, along with the deputies’ actions during them, are under investigation.

As for Bingham, the 45-year-old Twentynine Palms resident was placed on leave and his case was referred to the district attorney.

“The actions of this deputy are alarming and inexcusable; he not only tarnishes his badge but also undermines the integrity and credibility of the entire department,” Dicus said. “Criminal behavior will not be tolerated.”

Anyone with information regarding Bingham’s case is asked to contact SBSD’s Gang and Narcotics Division at 909-387-8400. Those wishing to remain anonymous can use the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463 or online at wetip.com.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.

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