An auto-theft suspect opened fire on San Diego Police early Monday in a Mountain View-area neighborhood, wounding an officer, then holed up in a nearby apartment, prompting a nine-hour SWAT standoff that ended in his arrest.
The events that led to the shooting, which left the officer with apparently non-life-threatening injuries, began about 12:30 a.m., when patrol personnel tried to pull over the driver of a stolen Toyota in the 3500 block of Main Street in Barrio Logan, according to the San Diego Police Department.
The suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Andrew Garcia of San Diego, allegedly refused to yield and proceeded to lead officers on a pursuit over various surface streets and freeways.
While fleeing, the suspect accelerated to dangerous speeds while driving “in an erratic manner,” prompting officers tailing him in cruisers to drop the chase and allow personnel in a patrol helicopter to track his path from above, SDPD Lt. Steve Shebloski said.
After about an hour, Garcia pulled over at an apartment complex in the 900 block of 45th Street, jumped out of the car and ran off.
“While officers pursued the suspect on foot, (he) turned and produced a concealed handgun,” Shebloski alleged. “The suspect then shot one officer multiple times as the officer came around the apartment building.”
The pursuing personnel were not able to return fire, according to police.
Fellow officers rushed the injured patrolman to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was listed in stable condition. His name was not released.
A physician told authorities the officer’s bulletproof vest likely saved his life, SDPD Chief David Nisleit said during a mid-afternoon briefing at downtown police headquarters.
Following the shooting, the suspect ran to the 1000 block of South 44th Street and entered a vacant townhouse. Officers surrounded the residence and called in special weapons and tactics personnel along with an emergency-negotiations team.
In the late morning, officers conducting surveillance on the townhouse saw that the suspect was lying on the floor inside it, Shebloski said. At about 10:30 a.m., several SWAT officers went into the home with a police dog, finding the suspect unconscious from an apparent drug overdose.
Police were able to revive Garcia with a treatment of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the life-threatening effects of excessive intake of opioids. Paramedics then took him to a hospital for further treatment.
After being released from medical care, Garcia will be booked on a slate of charges, including attempted murder of a peace officer, the lieutenant said.
While documenting evidence at the scene of the shooting, investigators found an unserialized “ghost gun” and numerous spent shell casings at the spot where the suspect allegedly opened fire on the officer, according to police.
During the news conference, Nisleit said he would seek to ensure that the suspect would “be held fully accountable” for the firearm assault on the patrolman, whom the chief described as a dedicated lawman.
“This (officer) is a young man … (who) was trying to recover someone’s stolen car, and someone tried to kill him,” Nisleit said.
Updated at 7:36 p.m. Dec. 12, 2022