SDPD gang officer killed, another wounded; suspect arrested

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SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego Police officer was killed and another wounded late Thursday after they came under fire during a traffic stop in the Southcrest neighborhood, Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

The chief, speaking at 3 a.m. outside Scripps Mercy Hospital, said the two officers, both members of the department's gang unit, reported that they were making a stop shortly before 11 p.m. Almost immediately afterward, they called for assistance. Other officers in the area arrived quickly and found that both officers had been shot, Zimmerman said.

“Very shortly after they put out that they were making a stop, they called for emergency cover,” Zimmerman said. “Other officers were in the area. They arrived shortly on scene and found both of our officers suffering from gunshot wounds.”

VIDEO: Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman Press Conference

One of the officers suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body. He was rushed to the hospital in a squad car. Doctors were unable to save him, she said.

The other officer underwent surgery and is expected to survive, according to the chief.

Police swarmed the area around the 3800 block of Boston Avenue searching for the shooter or shooters.  About 12:30 a.m., police confirmed on Twitter that they had one suspect in custody, who was also wounded by gunfire, and were searching for more.

Zimmerman described the suspect as an  "Hispanic male adult." She said he was found in a ravine near the 1500 block of South 38th Street. He had been shot while being taken into custody and was being treated for his wounds at a hospital, the chief said. Police did not know if any other suspects were involved and were continuing to search the area, Zimmerman  said.

Residents of the 3800 block of Boston Avenue were told to shelter in place as officers continued to search the area for a possible second suspect.

Neither officer's name was immediately released. Zimmerman described both of them as “heroic.” She said the officer who died was married and had two children.

"You can imagine early in the morning when a chief knocks on the door of a family member," Zimmerman said.

The wounded officer's wife was with him at the hospital, she said.

Police are expected to release additional information later in the morning, Zimmerman said.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer released the following statement:

“Last night we lost one of San Diego’s finest. We grieve for our fallen officer and stand with his family during this very difficult time. We also pray for the second officer shot last night as he recovers from surgery. Violence against the men and women who wear the badge is violence against us all. I ask all San Diegans and all people across our nation to join together in support of our officers who courageously protect our communities. We need them and they need us.”

The shooting in Southcrest comes less than two weeks after a man with ties to San Diego fatally ambushed officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three and wounding three others. Officers in Dallas, where five were killed, were also targeted by a gunman earlier this month.

It’s been nearly five years since the last San Diego police department shooting. On Aug. 6, 2011, a 36-year-old San Diego police officer who had just bought a meal for a child was fatally shot by a suicidal man who pulled up alongside his cruiser on University Avenue at 45th Street. Officer Jeremy Henwood, a four-year police department veteran and Marine reservist, died in a hospital early the next day.

Henwood was the second San Diego police officer killed on the job within 10 months. On Oct. 28, 2010, Officer Chris Wilson, 50, was shot to death during a probation raid at a Skyline-area apartment complex.

This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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