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SDPD officer wounded by ‘friendly fire,’ report says

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Officer Heather Seddon (Photo: SDPD)

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego policewoman wounded last spring in an exchange of gunfire with a fleeing suspect was struck by a round discharged by a fellow officer, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman confirmed Wednesday.

Officer Heather Seddon suffered a bullet wound to her neck while chasing 34-year-old Dennis Richard Fiel through Clairemont Mesa along with other patrol personnel on the morning of May 17.

When Fiel — a suspect in a months-long series of non-injury shootings of buildings in Kearny Mesa — drew a gun and opened fire on his pursuers, Officers Joshua Hodge and Mario Larrea returned fire.

Fiel died at the scene of the shootout just north of Sharp Memorial Hospital.

Seddon was hospitalized for several days, continued her recovery at home and eventually returned to work.

The department’s initial statements about the deadly encounter suggested that it was Fiel who shot Seddon. A news release issued that afternoon stated, “When officers approached (the suspect), a foot chase took place, and (Fiel) produced a gun and fired at the officers. One … officer chasing the suspect was shot in her upper torso.”

Following a “lengthy and thorough investigation,” however, detectives determined that the bullet that struck Seddon was fired by a police firearm, Zimmerman said. Seddon’s bullet entry wound had jagged edges, suggesting that the slug likely decelerated prior to hitting her, possibly from striking or ricocheting off “another object or person,” according to the chief.

It was unclear which of Seddon’s colleagues fired the round that wounded her.

Despite the ultimate findings about the shooting, Zimmerman praised the actions of the personnel involved in the pursuit and shooting.

“I commend our officers for their heroic efforts,” she said. “This is an example of the dangerous encounters our police officers face on a daily basis to keep the citizens of our city, whom we proudly serve, safe.”

Indications that Seddon was wounded by so-called “friendly fire” first emerged publicly last week, when an SDPD veteran made a passing reference to the fact in a legal action she has taken against the department.

The lawsuit filed by Lt. Natalie Stone, a 27-year member of the agency, alleges retaliatory treatment on the part of her supervisors over complaints she lodged about a police captain’s purportedly abusive and intimidating management style.

6 comments

  • still suffering the effects of dirty blue reporting

    More cover up! They lied in the original report, they are not entirely truthful now! I would bet said shot officer gave chase while another officer unloaded on a fleeing suspect and shot the officer chasing the fleeing suspect. Remember it is SDPD’s unwritten policy to shoot and then make up a reason they shot an unarmed mentally ill person. More recent policy is not to release information of recent police shootings . ..

    • Tom

      Jesus, you are one dumb piece of shit!!!!! How do you obtain your information on how the sdpd works? The media, no doubt!!!
      Until you learn to collect facts and analyze them with an unbiased brain, shut the fuck up and retreat back into your cellar, watch your CNN news, play your Call of Duty game so you feel like a man, eat your cheetos, and leave the rest of this country alone!!!
      Idiot!!!!!!!

      • still suffering the effects of dirty blue reporting

        Looks like the cops need to collect the facts and not bias them when they make unprofessional decisions to skew the facts changing the theme of the report. If it takes over 6 months to realize who shot who its either idiocracy or covering it up as long as possible to avoid scrutiny. Then throw in the report that it was possible a ricochet caused the injury to minimize the shoddy police work even further. TOM, we have idiots in every profession. Looks like you are either in denial of this or fall in the aforementioned category. SDPD needs to deal with and get rid of the idiots in the ranks of blue rather than covering up for shoddy work.

  • Richard Hylton

    Did the chief “disclose” the truth or was it tweezed out of her? To put it another way; did the Chief come forward with this new information or did she respond when prodded by a sharp stick? The report seems to suggest the latter.

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