A teenage boy was in juvenile hall Thursday and a 22-year-old gang member was being sought in the aftermath of an aborted traffic stop that escalated into a non-injury officer-involved shooting in a South Bay alley.
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The events that led to the gunfire began shortly after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, when patrolman Glenn Gossett saw a car with three or more people in it being driven erratically near Memorial Park in Chula Vista, according to police.
The driver refused to yield, instead pulling into an access road off the 400 block of Third Avenue, where the car crashed into a wall, CVPD Capt. Gary Wedge said.
"Believing the driver and (passengers) were going to abandoned their vehicle and flee, Officer Gossett got out of his patrol car in anticipation of a foot pursuit," Wedge said. "Instead, the vehicle accelerated in reverse in a sweeping U-turn toward Officer Gossett and struck the patrol car, forcing the officer to back away."
The driver then revved the engine of the car and accelerated directly toward Gossett, who responded by firing several shots from his service pistol. The suspect's vehicle slammed into the patrol car again, after which the driver sped off.
Gossett, a 14-year veteran of the Chula Vista Police Department, was uninjured.
A short time later, police found the damaged vehicle abandoned about a block away, with several bullet holes in it. The officer's gunfire evidently caused no injuries, Wedge said.
Police searched the area and detained a 15-year-old boy and two men in three separate locations. However, the person believed to have been driving the car, Gerardo Rodriguez-Meza of Chula Vista, eluded capture.
Detectives interrogated the boy, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, before booking him on suspicion of assault on a peace officer. The other two detainees were questioned and released pending further investigation.
Rodriguez-Meza, a 5-foot-6 inch, roughly 155-pound documented gang member with a shaved head, remained at large late this afternoon, the captain said.
Anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
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