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Suspect in shooting of Escondido police officer found dead

Posted at 6:14 AM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:12:41-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A man suspected in the shooting of an Escondido police officer early Monday morning was found dead hours later inside a vacant apartment.

Escondido police said officers were dispatched to the 1300 block of Morning View Drive at around 2:45 a.m. in response to a reported domestic violence disturbance.

Escondido PD Capt. Justin Murphy said a woman contacted police to report an altercation had taken place between herself and the father of her two children, Anastasio Rosas Jr.

Murphy said the woman told police that Rosas left the home with what she described as a black "assault-type" rifle and possibly drove away in her blue vehicle. The woman and two children were not harmed.

A short time later, two officers spotted the the vehicle on the dead end of W. Lincoln Avenue and Morning View Drive. As the officers prepared for a traffic stop, Murphy said that Rosas "quickly exited the driver's side door and fired at least one round at one of the police cars."

The bullet went through the driver's side door of the police car and "struck the officer while he was still seated," according to Murphy.

The officer, identified as a 12-year veteran and sergeant with the department's Patrol Division, was taken to Palomar Hospital for treatment. Murphy said the sergeant was hit in the left buttocks and the injury was not life-threatening. The sergeant was later released.

The 29-year-old Rosas ran south towards SR-78 following the shooting. Murphy confirmed that no officers fired their weapons.

Police deployed a helicopter to warn the public of an at-large suspect, describing him as “armed and dangerous.” A drone was also launched to assist in the search for Rosas, ABC 10News learned.

Several roads in the immediate area were closed due to the manhunt, including stretches of I-15 and SR-78.

At around 7:45 a.m., Murphy said a maintenance worker at an apartment complex in the 700 block of W. Lincoln Avenue contacted authorities to report a man hiding in a vacant apartment unit.

As law enforcement officers from Escondido police and other agencies responded, at least one gunshot was heard coming from the vacant apartment unit. A police robot entered the unit and found a man later identified as Rosas dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Escondido police said, "Investigators believe that Rosas was the only suspect being sought, and there is no further danger to the public."

The incident, including the events that led to the officer-involved shooting, remains under investigation.