Officers Shoot, Kill Suspect After Wild Chase Through East County

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La Mesa Police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

Updated at 11 a.m. Aug. 24, 2017

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Four law enforcement officers from three agencies shot and killed a suspect who had fired at them in a Lemon Grove neighborhood Thursday following a chase that began in La Mesa, authorities said.

The shooting involved two La Mesa police officers, one San Diego Police officer and a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy, sheriff’s Lt. Kenneth Nelson said. Their identities are expected to be released early next week.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many rounds they fired or how many shots struck the male victim, whose name was not released pending identification and family notifications. One other suspect in the chase was arrested, and police were still searching for a third man Thursday morning.

The chase began about 1:20 a.m. when a La Mesa patrol officer spotted a gray Ford sedan with an open door stopped at a green light near Fletcher Parkway and Baltimore Drive, Nelson said. Police approaching the car to investigate heard a scream and saw the door slam shut before the car sped away.

The La Mesa officer gave chase, following the Ford into Spring Valley, where a sheriff’s sergeant joined the pursuit, Nelson said. The officers followed the car into Lemon Grove, where it stopped in the 2100 block of Rebecca Way, a dead-end road in a neighborhood north of Mount Miguel High School.

Three men ran from the car, including one who jumped a fence, and officers following that man heard “what sounded like gunshots,” Nelson said.

A San Diego Police Department officer who arrived on scene spotted the man who jumped the fence and released his dog to try to subdue him, Nelson said. The dog bit the suspect.

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“While engaged with the K-9, the suspect fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the law enforcement officers,” Nelson said. That’s when the officers and deputy returned fire, striking and killing the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene and found in possession of a handgun, authorities said.

Another suspect was arrested a block away, and the third escaped. Officers and deputies set up a perimeter in the area and were scouring backyards looking for the man, described as wearing white clothing, who was still at large after 10 a.m. and no longer believed to be in the area. Police did not know if he was armed but said he could be dangerous, and asked anyone who saw him to call 911.

Detectives from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide detail are investigating the deadly shooting. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call (858) 974-2321, or after hours at (858) 565-5200. Those with information on the case could also contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or contact the agency online at Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

— City News Service

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