'Shots have been fired. Again, shots fired'

Posted at 1:58 PM, Jan 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-16 19:31:00-05

EL CAJON -- In the tense moments when shots were fired following a high-speed chase involving El Cajon police, the California Highway Patrol (which had been on standby) didn't know whether an officer or a suspect was down.

"Shots have been fired. Again, shots fired."
"It looks like the vehicle or party is going to be northbound on Pierce from Main. Again, shots have been fired."
Units on the pursuit - we are not getting a response from the El Cajon unit. Again, shots have been fired. We have no other suspect description. The vehicle is a red Toyota Prius."
"Shots have been fired and there is no response from the El Cajon unit."
"One party does have a gunshot wound. We're trying to confirm if it's one of our officers."

It wasn't an officer that was hit by gunfire, but a woman who had been a passenger in the car. She died and a dog was also killed.

It all started around 1:30 a.m. Saturday when El Cajon police officers came across a stolen vehicle in the 1300 block of E. Main Street.

"Officers attempted to stop the vehicle and when they approached, the vehicle fled north on Second Street then onto westbound Interstate 8,'' El Cajon Police Lt. Frank La Haye said. "Officers pursued the vehicle with emergency lights and sirens on.''

La Haye said the red Toyota compact reached speeds of 90 mph during the pursuit.

"The vehicle exited the freeway at the West Main Street exit and continued across West Main to a cul-de-sac on South Pierce Street,'' La Haye said. "The suspect vehicle made a U-turn bringing it head-on with pursuing officers. As one officer got out of his vehicle to approach the suspect vehicle, it drove towards the officer. The officer, fearing for his life, fired four rounds at the suspect vehicle, which continued ramming into two police
cars before stopping.''
La Haye said an unidentified woman and a dog sitting in the front passenger side of the car were struck by gunfire. The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment where she was later pronounced dead.
Three men also in the vehicle were arrested and taken to the El Cajon Police Department for processing, La Haye said.
Two of the men were arrested on suspicion of narcotics-related offenses, La Haye said. A third man, the driver, was arrested for suspicion of attempted murder on a police officer and felony evading.
"It is believed the driver and his female passenger were fugitives and have active warrant arrests,'' La Haye said.
La Haye said the officer who fired at the suspect vehicle has been a police officer for three years.
No officers were injured during the incident. There were no outstanding suspects.
An investigation was continuing.
Anyone with information is urged to call El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311 or Crime Stoppers tip line at (888) 580-8477.