SAN DIEGO — A San Diego police officer who was shot four times when he chased a convicted felon into a drainage pipe never fired his own weapon, investigators said Friday.
Ignacio Canela fired seven times at Officer Tim Bell Thursday afternoon, hitting him in the left arm, the left leg and the torso, Capt. Terry McManus said at an afternoon news conference. A fourth bullet grazed bell in the arm, he said.
Bell was the first officer to follow Canela into a freeway drainage culvert Thursday afternoon. He walked in slowly, with his gun drawn and a flashlight, McManus said. Seconds after he walked in, the gunshots rang out. Bell was hit, but he did not return fire, the captain said.
Several other officers went into the drain and brought out the wounded officer, McManus said. They immediately applied at least one tourniquet to stop the bleeding and drove him to the emergency room at Scripps Mercy Hospital, McManus said. Their quick action and the fact that Bell was wearing body armor prevented him from being injured more seriously or killed, the captain told reporters.
The events leading up to the shooting began at about 2:15 p.m., when SDPD detectives and uniformed officers set up surveillance around a house in th3e 3700 block of Wightman Avenue in City Heights, McManus said. They waited until Canela and a woman left the house got into a silver SUV. The officers called for support from a police helicopter and followed the SUV onto Interstate 15 McManus said.
Once the helicopter arrived, police attempted to stop the SUV as it exited the freeway at Adams Avenue, but Canela sped off, McManus said. Police pursued the SUV on surface streets through City Heights until it came to a dead end at a canyon in the 300 block of Central Avenue. Canela and the woman got out of the SUV, which rolled into the canyon. Canela then took off on foot into the canyon and ran into the freeway culver, with police close behind him.
After Bell was shot, officers radioed for assistance and police set up a perimeter on the other side of the drain. They eventually arrested Canela about 15 minutes after the shooting in the side yard of a house in the 2100 block of Haller Street, McManus said.
Investigators recovered the gun that Canela used to shoot Bell, McManus said. It had been stolen during a burglary in City Heights in December, he said.
Canela was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday afternoon on charges including attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a handgun and evading a law officer, McManus said.