High-speed police chase in southeast San Diego ends in shots fired; suspect taken to hospital

SAN DIEGO - An hour-long police pursuit ended in Mount Hope Thursday with police shooting the driver -- and it was all caught on camera.

San Diego police say the pursuit began at about 8:30 a.m. in the 5400 block of Grape Street when a sergeant tried to stop a 40-year-old man in a 2002 two-door Saturn for talking on his cellphone while driving. As the sergeant started to get out of the police cruiser, the driver of the Saturn took off. Police say the suspect raced down residential streets at speeds of up to 60 mph.

NOTE: Video of the shooting courtesy of our media partners at San Diego 6

While chasing the 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.

Officers said during the pursuit the man ran red lights and weaved through several neighborhoods -- including Oak Park, National City, Bonita and Paradise Hills. The suspect eventually headed onto northbound Interstate 805 at Imperial Avenue and then onto eastbound state Route 94.

The suspect exited the highway at Euclid Avenue and continued to Hilltop Drive. The driver stopped briefly to let a female passenger out of the car and then continued on through Encanto and Bay Terraces, hitting some spike strips.

10News was in place as the car went through the intersection of 41st and Hilltop, then lapped the block and stopped short of the spike strips. The vehicle came to a permanent stop on 41st Street at Hilltop Drive, and officers learned the suspect had a handgun in his possession.

While the Saturn was stopped, police said the suspect raised the gun towards officers, and fearing for their safety and the safety of others, four SDPD officers opened fire at the suspect in the vehicle.

"He just stopped and they started shooting at him," said witness Frankie Martinez. "Everybody started unloading on him. He got smoked. He probably did something bad for that to happen. They didn't even give him a chance."  

The suspect was taken to the hospital and is listed in critical condition.

According to police, the suspect's gun was found at the scene, along with what is believed to be controlled substances.

Some of what police said during the dispatch calls:

"Uh, continuing wrong side of the road. Use caution if you're approaching... now it's going to be approaching Sweetwater and 805. And he's back to the correct side of the road now."

"He's having more and more difficulty. One of his tires keeps smoking when he makes some turns. I think it's brake problems or something."

"I got spikes, next intersection. Back off."

"And speeds are back up to about 60 mph. Uh, going through stop sign. Still northbound Harbison approaching Division."

"Blew a red light. Use caution for cross traffic when you get there. He's westbound on Federal."

"John, he did impact my spikes."

"I need the air. The female said that he does have a firearm. She doesn't know what kind it is."

"Male does have a firearm. Units in pursuit."

"Sam, can you make sure everyone is 10-4 on the gun?"

"Guys, he put a window up. Heads up."

(Shots fired a few seconds later)

"Officers are at the car. Units at the vehicle. They're trying to get the suspect out of the car now. They're trying to get the suspect out."

"We have him out on the ground."

"Let's get medics started this way."

According to a law enforcement source, when the driver circled back, the suspect drove by slowly and yelled something out the window. The windows were rolled up on the vehicle when the driver drove by a second time. That's when the source tells 10News that officers saw the driver had a gun and they opened fire.

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