ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Escondido police Friday released a video briefing including body-worn camera footage of an officer pursuing and fatally shooting an armed suspect who was accused of opening fire on another motorist earlier in the same day.
The video details the graphic moments of the Sept. 17 encounter when Officer Chandler Hoppal fired 12 rounds at Escondido resident Jonathan Charles Carroll following a high-speed pursuit that ended when Carroll crashed his vehicle near the intersection of Bear Valley Parkway and Encino Drive. It can be viewed in its entirety here.
Police allege Carroll, 38, exited his vehicle with a handgun pointed at Hoppal. Hoppal fires his weapon four times, then Carroll fires one round. The rapid exchange of gunfire continues as Hoppal fires a fifth round before Carroll fires his weapon a second and final time. Hoppal then fires seven more rounds.
Footage released by the department shows Carroll collapse into the roadway with his driver’s side door still ajar. The exchange began less than four seconds after the conclusion of the chase.
According to police, Carroll was struck in the head, abdomen and upper left arm. He was pronounced dead at Palomar Medical Center a short while after the shooting. Hoppal was not injured in the exchange.
“Jonathan Carroll not only confronted Officer Hoppal with a loaded handgun, but fired that weapon,” Escondido police Chief Ed Varso said in the released video. “We later discovered Carroll’s vehicle contained an additional handgun, an AR-15 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.”
Varso added, “One of our most fundamental obligations is to stand between members of our community and those who intend to harm them. Officer Hoppal did just that and I have little doubt he prevented further harm to innocent members of our community.”
About 90 minutes prior to the fatal shooting, Carroll – who was driving a white Mercedes SUV – was accused of shooting and wounding a motorist near a Walmart store at 1330 E. Grand Ave. Authorities say a bullet fired by Carroll pierced another vehicle’s car door and hit the driver in the back. The driver, who wasn’t identified by police, drove himself to the hospital for treatment and was released.
No known connection exists between the driver and Carroll and a motive has not been determined, police said.
Officers then spotted Carroll’s SUV about 6:12 p.m. near what they said was the registered owner’s address, leading to a police pursuit that spanned a roughly six-mile route.
Body-worn camera footage from Hoppal captures a portion of the pursuit. In it, Hoppal can be heard speaking to a dispatcher to report that Carroll was at one point driving in excess of 100 mph. Video inside the police vehicle shows the chase end with Hoppal hitting a curb, which flattened two of the vehicle’s tires.
He exits the cruiser speaking to his radio: “TC at Encino. My vehicle is 10-7.”
It’s at that moment when gunfire erupts. Carroll’s door opens and within seconds Hoppal begins firing with one pop after another all captured by the footage.
When it ends, Hoppal can be heard taking a hard breath before reporting in: “Shots fired. Code three cover. S1 is down. I am code four at Encino and Bear Valley. Suspect is down. Start medics. He was armed with a handgun.”
Then comes the wails of sirens while Hoppal appears to reload. Other officers then arrive at the scene with one shouting to Carroll: “Don’t you f—— move.”
Another officer approaches Hoppal and asks if he’s “good.”
“Yeah,” Hoppal replies. “Holy f—— s—.”
The department’s video notes that Hoppal was moved from the immediate area of the shooting after that. Other angles of officers on the scene contains a heavy blur of Carroll and his vehicle as streaks of blood are visible on the street as authorities approach.
“The gun is right under him,” one officer says.
“Just get the gun out and leave him,” another officer replies. “He’s dead.”
The firearm recovered from Carroll was an unserialized 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, also known as a “ghost gun.” Two more unserialized guns were located in the car, police said.
It draws parallels with footage released Thursday by San Diego police of a similar exchange between a suspect who they say fired at least one shot at them in a pursuit in the Chollas Creek area. An unregistered “ghost gun” was recovered in that case as well.
Varso said a “detailed investigative process” was launched immediately following the fatal police shooting.
“An investigation is currently being conducted by the Escondido Police Department Crimes of Violence Unit,” Varso said. “The investigative process includes an independent review by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to determine if the officer’s actions are reasonable under the law.”
Reviews of the legality of the shooting by the District Attorney’s Office typically take 180 days, Varso said.