San Diego police said Tovar was an armed robbery suspect who shot a Bay Terraces-area resident and drove another resident’s vehicle toward a group of police officers, prompting five officers to open fire.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as 30-, 28-, 14- and 12-year veterans of the San Diego Police Department and a National City police officer who has been with that agency for six months, according to San Diego police Lt. Jorge Duran.
The events that led to the shooting began about 11:35 a.m. Friday, when officers were called to the Arco gas station at Paradise Valley Road at Meadowbrook Drive, which had been robbed at gunpoint by a man in his 40s who also fired a round into the ceiling, Duran said. A witness told police the suspect got into a white Suzuki sedan and sped away, he said.
The witness followed the suspect to the 7100 block of Paradise Road, where the suspect crashed into a curb, then tried unsuccessfully to set the car on fire by pouring gasoline on it and throwing a Molotov cocktail into the trunk, Duran said. The suspect then ran toward a residential area, he said.
Responding officers saw the suspect enter a home in the 7300 block of Woodbridge Way. Its resident told officers the suspect confronted him in the back yard and shot him in his foot, Duran said. That man was treated by paramedics for a non-life-threatening wound, Duran said.
The suspect then headed to the 7400 block of Gatewood Lane, where he asked a resident for clothing and was given a gray t-shirt before leaving the area, Duran said.
He then went into another home on Woodbridge Way, which officers surrounded. They helped a female resident escape through the bathroom window after she called for help, Duran said. Officers called to the suspect to come out.
Several minutes later, the suspect allegedly drove out of the garage in reverse at a high rate of speed and headed toward officers standing in the street. Duran said the officers feared they were about to be run over and opened fire, striking the suspect, who died at the scene.