Suspect in custody after allegedly shooting deputy, may be linked to other crimes

A Redlands man has been arrested for allegedly shooting a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy, whose body armor saved his life.

The Sheriff's Department says 37-year-old Kenneth Welch was arrested at his home Thursday, and police think he may have been connected to a series of other crimes.  

The deputy, 25-year-old Patrick Higgins, was shot around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, an hour after the beating and robbery of a Chevron station clerk in Hesperia.

Authorities say Higgins was investigating near the station when he saw a car matching the description of the robber's getaway car.

Authorities say Higgins repeatedly ordered the driver to show his hands and get out, then pepper-sprayed him when he refused.

The man opened fire, hitting Higgins once in the chest, although a protective vest stopped the bullet. A shootout followed and Higgins followed the fleeing car several miles before pain made him stop.

He was treated for chest trauma at a hospital and released.

Law enforcement sources confirmed to FOX 11 that authorities were looking at Welsh in connection to a shooting on the 210 Freeway as well as other crimes.

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