Man shot by police officers after pursuit now on life support, family says

SAN DIEGO - A motorist who refused to yield for a traffic stop and led officers on an hour-long pursuit that ended with him wounded in a barrage of police gunfire is now reportedly on life support.

The 40-year-old driver, identified by his cousin as Jose Navarro, had a female passenger with him when the chase began. Navarro sped off about 8:30 a.m. when a San Diego police sergeant tried to pull him over on Grape Street in Oak Park for using a cellphone behind the wheel, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

While pursuing the 2002 Saturn sedan, police determined that it matched the description of one linked to a shooting that wounded two men in a Mountain View-area neighborhood Monday night.

The fleeing man ran stoplights while passing through parts of Paradise Hills, Bonita and National City, Mayer said. At one point, he pulled over long enough to let his companion out, then sped off again.

The suspect ran over several tire-flattening spike strips laid out in his path before finally slowing to a halt on 41st Street at Hilltop Drive.

Video broadcast by 10News captured images of the car stopping in the roadway with squad cars directly behind it, with their sirens screaming. Moments later, a man shouted and four officers opened fire, discharging about two dozen rounds in quick succession at the front and passenger side of the red sedan.

Police said the driver brandished a handgun, prompting officers to open fire.

Neighbors rushed to see what was going on. A girl, who didn't want to be identified, was awakened by the gunfire, and she told 10News, "I looked out my window and I saw the cops leaning on my dad's car and they were shooting at the car."

Jorge Aguilar translated for his brother, Jose Suarez, another neighbor who only speaks Spanish: "His wife, she's the one that saw it. She got scared and ran inside cause she saw them shoot, thought she was going to get shot at, too."

The driver's family said Navarro is a mechanic who also does bodywork and has a young son.

They also told 10News that he had some outstanding warrants and thought that was why he wouldn't stop.

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