Names of wounded cop, dead gunman released

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SAN DIEGO – Police Monday released the names of a San Diego officer who was shot while pursuing a suspect Sunday and the gunman, who was killed by other officers a short time later.

Officer Heather L. Seddon was shot Sunday morning by 34-year-old Dennis Richard Fiel. Seddon, a five-year veteran with the San Diego Police Department, was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital and treated for a bullet wound to her upper body.

Officer Heather Seddon (Photo: San Diego Police Department)

Officer Heather Seddon (Photo: San Diego Police Department)

Seddon is making a good recovery, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Monday.

“I visited with her again this morning, and she is in excellent spirits and very eager to get out of the hospital,'' the chief said.

The shooting came at the end of a high speed chase that began at about 7:40 a.m. when police tried to pull over a Jeep that was traveling at about 90 mph on southbound Interstate 805 in Kearny Mesa, Acting Captain Mike Hastings said. Officers lost sight of the Jeep on southbound state Route 163 near the Mesa College exit, but other patrol units found the abandoned Jeep in the 7700 block of Mesa College Drive.

Seddon was one of several officers who ran after a man who was seen near the abandoned Jeep. The man pulled out a gun and fired at the pursuing officers, wounding Seddon. While some officers stopped to aid Seddon, Officer Joshua W. Hodge and Officer Mario Larrea returned fire, killing the gunman. He was later identified as Fiel, a San Diego resident.

Hodge has been with the San Diego Police Department for four years, and Larrea for five, police said.

Body cameras worn by two officers recorded deadly confrontation including Officer Seddon's, Hastings told reporters during a briefing Monday afternoon at downtown SDPD headquarters. Police have reviewed the footage and forwarded it to the District Attorney's Office, which will determine if the officers' use of lethal force was justified, the lieutenant said.

Fiel was a suspect in six separate shootings that damaged commercial structures, including a 7-Eleven store, tire shop, medical treatment facility and a San Diego Gas & Electric office building, over the last four months. During a search of his home following the officer-involved shooting, investigators found an assault rifle, ammunition and a large marijuana-growing setup, according to Hastings.

Ballistics tests are being conducted on the weapons belonging to Fiel to see if they were used in the string of shootings.