Deputy Bruce K. Lee
Medal of Honor - Deputy Bruce K. Lee
ID Number 1088
May 19, 1957 to May 13, 2003
The end of watch came on May 13, 2003 for Deputy Bruce K. Lee. Lee responded to a disturbing the peace call in La Quinta. Immediately upon arrival, Lee was confronted by a mentally disturbed twenty-four-year-old Kevin Diablo, who was known to have had prior difficulties with the law.
In attempting to question and reason with Diablo, a physical encounter ensued, and Diablo was able to secure Lee’s police baton. He inflicted severe blows to the deputy’s head and neck, resulting in massive trauma.
A back-up deputy, responding to Lee’s call for assistance, arrived at the scene and observed Lee’s motionless body lying on the ground. Still brandishing the police baton, Diablo immediately confronted the back-up deputy. When Diablo ignored the command to drop the baton, and continued to advance toward the deputy in a threatening manner, the deputy fired his service weapon, mortally wounding Diablo.
Law Enforcement Career
Lee’s attraction to law enforcement was sparked in 1968, when as an 11-year-old, he watched an Inglewood police officer arrest a man for stealing a car and attempting to steal gasoline from Lee’s father’s service station. Years later, Lee was partnered with that same Inglewood policeman’s son, Michael Manning. A 22-year veteran of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Lee was assigned to Indio Station. His wife of nine years, mother, father and sister survived him.
In December 2005, a stretch of Highway 111 through La Quinta was named the "Deputy Bruce Lee Memorial Highway."