Escondido police officer who shot ex-con in foot identified

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Authorities Thursday publicly identified the Escondido police officer who shot a 36-year-old ex-con in the foot after the man fired shots at police during a pursuit.

Officer Adam St. John returned fire and struck 36-year-old Jose Martin Torres, of Oceanside, in the foot following the chase that began shortly after 1:30 a.m. last Thursday, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Michael Blevins.

Dispatchers received a call around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday from a person reporting that a man in a vehicle was firing shots at a house in the 1400 block of Rincon Villa Drive, Blevins said.

Officers responded to the area, spotted the vehicle and attempted to stop it, but Torres fled northbound on Interstate 15 before exiting on Deer Springs Road.

Near the Deer Springs Road offramp, Torres ran over spike strips then continued onto Mesa Rock Road and stopped his vehicle in the street, Blevins said.

Torres got out of his vehicle, then fired shots at officers as he ran away, the lieutenant said. Officer St. John returned fire while chasing Torres and struck him in the foot.

Officers took Torres into custody around 1:40 a.m., Escondido Sgt. Shannon Martin said at the time.

Torres was taken to a hospital for treatment of the gunshot wound then released into custody, Blevins said, adding that two officers were also taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, then released.

St. John has been employed as a patrol officer for the Escondido Police Department for two and a half years.

Torres was being held without bail at the Vista Detention Center on suspicion of two counts attempted first-degree murder, according to jail records. Torres also faces three counts each of resisting arrest with force and attempted criminal threats, as well as one count each of reckless evading, negligent discharge of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday afternoon and is due back in court on Feb. 21 for a readiness conference and Feb. 26 for a preliminary hearing.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, Torres was out on bail at the time of the shooting in a domestic violence case and has a gang-related prior strike conviction from 2008.

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