A California Highway Patrol cruiser
A California Highway Patrol cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A 26-year-old Fallbrook man was behind bars Friday on suspicion of firing a gun at California Highway Patrol officers during a pursuit that stretched from the central San Diego to East County.

Around 5:25 p.m. Thursday, CHP officers responded to a report of a pedestrian walking on eastbound Interstate 8, west of state Route 163, CHP Public Information Officer Salvador Castro said.

As one of the officers was initiating a traffic break, a white Toyota 4Runner sped past at a high speed, Castro said.

Officers began chasing the Toyota as it fled eastbound on I-8.

At several points during the chase, the Toyota driver fired a gun at pursuing CHP officers and officers returned fire, but no one was struck by the gunfire, Castro said.

As the Toyota approached Buckman Springs Road in Campo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers deployed a spike strip, which deflated the SUV’s tires and forced the driver to stop the vehicle, the officer said.

The suspect then fled on foot to a nearby Caltrans maintenance yard, where CHP officers found him and shot him with a stun gun, Castro said. The man continued to struggle with officers before a San Diego County Sheriff’s dog was unleashed on him and he was finally taken into custody.

The suspect was identified by officers as 26-year-old Alec Zachary Bennett.

Bennet was taken to Sharp Grossmont Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, then booked into San Diego Central Jail early Friday morning on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer.

He was being held without bail pending arraignment, tentatively scheduled for May 1.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.