OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A police motorcycle officer who was run down by a car Monday in Oceanside is "resting comfortably" after surgery, according to police.
Oceanside Police Officer Brad Hunter, a 29-year veteran of the department, suffered serious injuries but is expected to make a full recovery, Oceanside Police Department spokesperson Tom Bussey told FOX 5.
A blood drive and rally is being organized on behalf of Hunter.
Martin Morabe, president of the Oceanside Police Officer Association and fellow motorcycle officer, released this statement in response to the incident:
"As a community, we need to join together and condemn these acts of violence against law enforcement and, in particular, our fellow officer who lies in the hospital struggling to recover from serious injuries he sustained when a suspect drove his car directly into him while standing on the side of the road doing his job. This appeared to be a direct and intentional act of violence against the officer. Law enforcement personnel throughout the nation risk their lives to protect and serve all of us every day and every minute of the hour. We condemn this apparent act of violence toward one of our officers and urge the community to support him and his family. We need to send a strong message to all who wish to cause harm to those who protect us that we will not tolerate such egregious acts here in Oceanside or anywhere else in this great country."
Bussey said around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Hunter was conducting a traffic stop near Buddy Todd Park in Oceanside when 26-year-old Robert Ignacio Flores of San Marcos rammed him with a silver Dodge Neon on Foussat Road. The sedan hit Hunter as he was standing next to the driver's side of a pulled-over vehicle and then continued on to the south, according to investigators.
Witnesses reported that the hit-and-run driver appeared to have steered the car into the victim on purpose.
Police said Flores fled for several blocks before pulling to a stop in a traffic lane on Industry Street near El Camino Real. He and a male passenger then jumped out of the car and ran off, Bussey said.
Officers found Flores a short time later at a nearby light-rail station and arrested him.
Good Samaritans aided the injured officer, who was conscious and alert following the crash, prior to the arrival of emergency personnel. Medics then airlifted him to a trauma center, where he underwent emergency surgery for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Flores was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, assault on a peace officer and hit-and-run. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday afternoon.