SAN DIEGO — A police officer wounded when a fleeing suspect opened fire on her during a chase was released from the hospital Tuesday.
San Diego police Officer Heather Seddon, a five-year member of the force, was treated at Sharp Memorial Hospital for bullet wounds to her neck, where a round initially struck her, and shoulder, where it lodged.
Seddon and other patrol personnel were running after 34-year-old Dennis Richard Fiel of San Diego on Sunday morning in a neighborhood just north of Sharp Memorial Hospital when he pulled a gun and shot her, prompting fellow Officers Joshua Hodge and Mario Larrea to return fire, Lt. Mike Hastings said. Fiel died at the scene.
Medics took Seddon to the medical center.
The events that led to the shootout began shortly after 7:30 a.m., when police came across Fiel — a suspect in a months-long series of non-injury shootings of buildings in Kearny Mesa — as he was driving at high speed in a gray late-model Jeep on Interstate 805, near Convoy Street, according to Hastings.
Refusing to yield, Fiel merged onto State Route 163 and continued on to the south for a short distance before exiting at Mesa College Drive, where the pursuing officers lost sight of his vehicle.
Police searched the area and soon found the Jeep abandoned in an alley off Annrae Street. They then spotted the suspect walking nearby, and he bolted when they tried to contact him, Hastings said. Moments later, the volley of gunfire erupted.
Several body cameras worn by the involved officers recorded the chase and shootings, Hastings told reporters during a briefing this afternoon at downtown SDPD headquarters. Police have reviewed the footage and forwarded it to the District Attorney’s Office, which will determine if the officers’ use of lethal force was justified, the lieutenant said.
Fiel was a suspect in six shootings that have damaged windows on commercial structures, including a 7-Eleven store and a San Diego Gas & Electric office building, over the last four months. During a search of his home following the officer-involved shooting, investigators found an assault rifle, ammunition and a large marijuana-growing setup, according to Hastings.
Hodge has been with the San Diego Police Department for four years, and Larrea for five, police said.