An investigation was under way Monday into a deputy-involved shooting in which a Spring Valley woman was shot by a deputy who was checking her backyard for a masked man.
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Deputies were called to 8900 block of Leigh Avenue shortly before 10:30 p.m. Sunday to investigate a suspicious man seen in the area wearing a ski mask, according to San Diego County sheriff's homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit.
Deputies arrived and determined the man had left the area, walking away in an eastbound direction, Nesbit said in a statement.
While checking for the man one to two blocks away from Leigh Avenue, deputies entered the backyard of a residence in the 200 block of Via Tapia, Nesbit said.
"At some point, while in the backyard of the residence, there was contact between the deputies, who had their weapons drawn, and a female resident of the home," Nesbit said. "During that contact, one of the deputies fired from his service weapon. The female was struck in the arm by the round."
Paramedics took the wounded woman, identified as Jennifer Orey, to an area hospital, where she was listed in good condition and expected to be released Monday, Nesbit said.
However, family members say the sheriff's department is not telling the whole truth about the extent of Orey's injuries.
"You know what, you guys need to get your story straight," said Dennis Morgan, Orey's father. "She wasn't shot in the arm she was shot in the chest."
Orey's sister-in-law, Kristin Arzaga-Morgan, told 10News Orey made it through surgery early Monday to repair the wounds from the bullet that entered her chest, exited through her bicep and struck her pinky finger.
"Part of a bullet ricocheted off and hit her in the pinky, and they also had to do a little bit of repair to her pinky as well," said Arzaga-Morgan.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said that is not true. Gore told 10News he has been monitoring the situation and said with assurance that Orey had been shot in the arm and that her pinky was "scratched."
Gore said the deputies thought Orey's open gate looked suspicious, so they went into her backyard. The deputies ran into Orey, and one of them had a "spontaneous reaction."
Authorities said they did not know exactly what prompted the shooting. They said the woman did not have anything in her hands and was not armed at the time.
Morgan said Orey told him she heard something in her backyard so she went to check it out.
"She saw a flashlight and identified herself as the homeowner and he shot her," said Orey's father, Dennis Morgan.
Orey told relatives the deputy told her to lay on her back until paramedics arrived.
Her father said Orey was the first woman accepted in the Navy's Air and Sea Rescue team and she knew if she stayed on her back she would die, so she turned on her side and waited.
Morgan said he believes the sheriff's department is downplaying the shooting.
"I told them I'm really pissed off," he said. "I'm pissed off as hell. A cop could have very easily killed my daughter."
Before she was rushed to the hospital, Orey had one question for the deputy.
"After he shot her, she looked at him and said, 'Why did you shoot me?'" said Morgan.
Orey told her father the deputy never answered her.
So far, there has been no explanation from the sheriff's department. The case is being turned over to the district attorney.
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