SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A man faces an attempted murder charge, among other charges, in connection with the shooting of a California Highway Patrol on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley.
CHP officials said 25-year-old Yuhao Du, a current UCSD graduate student, was arrested following the Wednesday evening incident that left an officer with an injury that required hospitalization. Du was involved in a single-vehicle crash in the center media of eastbound I-8 near the Intestate 805 overcrossing shortly before 6:20 p.m., prompting the response of an officer, the CHP said.
According to the CHP, Du was standing in front of his car when he “suddenly attacked the officer, lunging for the officer’s firearm. Du attempted to take control of the officer’s firearm, and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, one round discharged and struck the officer in the leg.”
CHP identified the injured officer as seven-year veteran Tony Pacheco.
“This was an unprovoked attack on my officer,” Captain Taylor Cooper, commander of CHP- San Diego, said.
Several good Samaritans witnessed the altercation and stopped to help the injured officer.
ABC 10News learned some witnesses used the officer’s handcuffs to restrain Du before other officers arrived at the scene.
"That was huge for us. Like I said Tony was severely injured,” Cooper said .
"I just commended the public who was driving through that area yesterday who felt compelled to stop and help one of my officers."
Pacheco was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital for treatment. The officer is in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon, the CHP stated.
The agency said Du “faces several charges, including attempted murder of a peace officer.”
In a statement, CHP Chief Scott Parker said, “I am extremely grateful for the members of the public who put themselves in harms way to help our officer after he was shot in the leg. This incident could have ended in a greater tragedy had those individuals not intervened. CHP officers put themselves at risk every day they come to work. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer and his family as he recovers from his injuries.”
ABC 10News asked Cooper what goes through his mind hearing that a suspect reached for one of his officer’s firearms. He said that it happens more often than we think.
"The outcome is what we wanted. Tony survived the attack. That's what you get trained for in the academy. Each and every day you got to train for the attack. You have to be ready. But it is a scary thought,” Cooper said.
The agency asks that anyone with information on the incident call the CHP Investigative Services Unit at 858-650-3620.