Cops who fatally shot pursuit suspect ID’d

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department released the names Monday of four SDPD personnel who shot an assault suspect at the end of an hour-long road chase last week, fatally injuring him.

Officers Manuel Dominguez, Katherine Euler, James Graves and Matthew Johnson opened fire on 40-year-old Jose Luis Navarro of Lemon Grove about 9:30 a.m. Thursday when he allegedly pulled a pistol at the end of the pursuit, homicide Lt. Mike Hastings said. He died in a hospital from multiple gunshot wounds two days later.

pursuitAn officer initially tried to pull the suspect over for using a cell phone while driving through Oak Park in an orange 2002 Saturn sedan. Navarro, who had a female passenger with him, sped off, leading police through various southeastern San Diego neighborhoods and into Bonita and National City, at time running stoplights.

During the chase, police determined that the Saturn matched the description of one linked to a shooting that had wounded two men in a Mountain View-area neighborhood three days earlier. They also believed that the suspect was armed, Hastings said.

At one point, Navarro pulled over long enough to let his companion out, then continued fleeing. He drove over several tire-flattening spike strips laid out in his path before finally slowing to a halt in the 800 block of 41st Street in Mount Hope. He then raised the handgun toward officers, according to police.

Video captured images of the car stopping in the roadway with squad cars directly behind it, their sirens screaming. A moment later, a man shouted, and officers unleashed a fusillade of shots, discharging about two dozen rounds in quick succession at the front and sides of the sedan.

Witness Frankie Martinez described watching as the barrage of police gunfire began, then jumping onto the ground to protect himself.

In addition to the pistol, investigators found what was believed to an illegal narcotic in the bullet-riddled car, Hastings said.

Dominguez has been with the San Diego Police Department for seven years, Euler for five, Graves for 24 and Johnson for eight. They will serve desk duty pending completion of an internal investigation into their use of lethal force, as is routine in cases of officer-involved shootings.

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