SAN DIEGO – A police chase in City Heights ended Thursday in a shooting that left a San Diego police officer hospitalized and the suspected assailant under arrest, police said.
Detectives were conducting surveillance of a documented gang member at a residence on the 3700 block of Wightman Avenue at 2:15 p.m., according to SDPD Capt. Terry McManus. An hour later, officers started to purse the suspect, who left his residences in a vehicle and with an unknown woman, and attempted to stop them on northbound Interstate 15 near Adams Avenue exit.
In an attempt to evade the pursing officers, the suspect and passenger ditched the vehicle at the end of the 3000 block of Central Avenue and ran into the canyon in different directions, McManus said. Officers from both Southern and Mid-City divisions chased the suspect westbound into the canyon where I-15 and I-805 intersect.
The shooting took place in a water drainage tunnel in the canyon at the end of the chase near 2800 block of 39th Street, near Azalea Park, around 3:30 p.m., the captain said.
About 15 minutes after the shooting, police took the suspected shooter into custody in the 2100 block of Haller Street, on the opposite side of state Route 15 and Interstate 805 from the site of the gunfire.
Officers transported the injured patrolman, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, to Scripps Mercy Hospital where he will undergo surgery to be treated for a gunshot wounds to his chest, left leg and left arm, McManus said. The protective vest may have saved the officer’s life, according to McManus.
The officer was conscious and talking and is expected to make a full recovery, SDPD Chief William Lansdowne said.
Police identified the wounded patrolman as Officer Tim Bell of the SDPD Mid-City division.
Bell’s close relatives, including his wife and mother, were with him at the hospital as doctors prepared him for surgery, Lansdowne said.
The suspect was named in a multiple-felony arrest warrant, but it was unclear what the crimes were, SDPD Detective Gary Hassen said. His name was unavailable pending booking.
Several agencies, including the U.S. Marshals, assisted SDPD in the search for the unidentified woman, who was taken into custody around 7:30 p.m., according to authorities.
California Highway Patrol halted traffic for an hour on Interstate 805 and 15 while authorities searched nearby canyons.
This story will be updated as information becomes available.