Driver fatally shot, passenger injured in Encanto police chase

Shooting in 6500 block of Brooklyn Avenue

SAN DIEGO - The driver of what turned out to be a stolen car allegedly sped toward officers, who fatally shot him and wounded a passenger, San Diego police said Saturday.

The shooting occurred after a brief chase of the car through the Encanto area of San Diego. The fatally-wounded driver was reported only as a 21-year-old man.

Police said a patrol officer spotted the car speeding east on Imperial Avenue near 54th Street about 1:15 a.m., according to San Diego police Lt. Ernie Herbert. The car had been stolen, but the owner had not yet reported the theft.

It was driven by a 21-year-old man. A 19-year-old woman was in the front seat, he said. Another passenger, an 18-year-old man, was in the back.

"The officer attempted to stop the car for a speeding violation; however, the driver of the car failed to yield to the officer's police lights and siren," Herbert said in a statement.

The officer pursued the driver. Two other officers joined in and chased the car to the 6500 block of Brooklyn Avenue, about a mile-and-a-half away, Herbert said.

The driver then turned the car into a large open dirt lot on the north side of the street, which was fenced on three sides.

"The officers stopped their cars and got out, expecting the suspect to flee on foot," Herbert said. "The driver of the car suddenly made a U-turn and drove directly toward the officers, who were outside their cars giving verbal commands for the suspect to stop."

The driver continued toward the officers, which prompted the three officers to fire their handguns at the suspect, hitting him and the woman in the front seat, according to Herbert.

The car came to a stop and officers rendered aid and called for help. Paramedics arrived, but the driver died at the scene, Herbert said.

His name was withheld pending family notification.

The injured passenger was taken to a hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to her shoulder, Herbert said. The other passenger was not injured.

Herbert said the three unnamed officers involved in the shooting had been with the San Diego Police Department for six years, five years and four years.

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