Robbery suspect shot by Chula Vista police officer identified
John Edward Pantoja allegedly robbed CVS Pharmacy
Last Updated: 214 days ago
CHULA VISTA, Calif. -
Authorities released the name Tuesday of a robbery suspect wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a Chula Vista police officer near a South Bay drugstore.
John Edward Pantoja, 22, allegedly opened fire on the officer, missing him, shortly after carrying out an armed holdup at the CVS Pharmacy on Third Avenue in northern Chula Vista early Monday morning.
The police officer, whose name has not been released, arrived at the business in response to the robbery about 1:40 a.m. and spotted Pantoja, who matched the bandit's description, near the business, Capt. Gary Wedge said.
Moments later, before the officer was able to get out of his cruiser, Pantoja fired several shots in his direction, then walked off toward a nearby park, Wedge alleged.
A moment later, however, Pantoja turned around and headed back, the captain said.
"While doing so, the suspect pointed his gun at the officer," Wedge said. "Believing the suspect was going to shoot at him again, the officer, who was now out of his vehicle, fired three rounds from his patrol rifle, striking the suspect once in the leg."
Medics took Pantoja, a Chula Vista resident, to a hospital, where he will remain under guard until he has recovered sufficiently to be transferred to county jail, the captain said.
The officer, a 13-year member of the Chula Vista Police Department, was uninjured.
Officers gathering evidence at the scene of the gunfire recovered a small-caliber pistol believed to have been wielded by the robber, money that apparently had been stolen from the business and car keys taken from a pharmacy customer under threat of violence during the holdup.
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