BERMUDA DUNES — Authorities were hunting Friday for a federal police officer who allegedly abducted a middle school student from a bus stop and escaped after a high-speed freeway chase.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect as 32-year-old David Clairmont of Riverside, a police officer with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles.
He was once investigated on suspicion of molesting the boy but never charged.
He was wearing his uniform when he pulled up to a bus stop in Bermuda Dunes, an unincorporated area about 15 miles east of Palm Springs, and forced the 13-year-old into his car, Deputy Ray Verdugo said.
“He remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous because he is a peace officer and he does have weapons,” he said.
Several other children witnessed the abduction but were not hurt, Verdugo said.
They told officers they didn’t see Clairmont display a weapon.
Verdugo said Clairmont recently was investigated by Riverside police on suspicion of molesting the youth, a student at La Quinta Middle School. The officer and the boy were once neighbors.
The Riverside Police Department referred all inquiries about the case to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, which was closed Friday night.
After forcing the boy into the car, authorities said, Clairmont sped west on Interstate 10 and was spotted near Banning by a California Highway Patrol officer. He allegedly fled at speeds reaching 110 mph before officers lost sight of him at a freeway exit in Redlands.
Clairmont, 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes, was driving a blue, four-door 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. He is on administrative leave from his job, Verdugo said.
The boy is 5-foot-5 and 95 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black jacket, gray shirt and blue pants.
The car’s California license plate No. is 4JAC535