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San Diego Police: Suspect shot by officers after finding officer's gun in patrol SUV

Officer-involved shooting happened at SDPD HQ
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 19:00:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A man under arrest was hospitalized Sunday night after San Diego Police said he slipped out of his handcuffs and got a hold of an officer's gun, leading to an officer-involved shooting at the department's downtown headquarters.

According to police, a 25-year-old Hispanic man was arrested shortly after 6:20 p.m. after an incident at a downtown San Diego hotel. A hotel security guard reported the man was “acting strange” and threatening others.

Officers took the man to SDPD headquarters on 1401 Broadway, but just after 8 p.m. police said the man somehow freed himself from his handcuffs while inside the patrol SUV, and then broke a divider that separates the prisoner seat area from the cargo area.

Police said it was in the cargo area were the man located an officer’s backpack that contained a backup handgun.

Officers went to check on the arrestee after hearing noise and saw that he was still in the vehicle but armed with a gun. Officers drew their weapons but backed up from the car.

Police said, “Officers gave the male commands to drop the weapon, but he refused to do so. The male fired at least one round from the handgun.”

The officers felt threatened at that point, prompting them to fire at least one round, hitting the man at least once in the torso.

According to police, “The male reached out the car window, opened the door and exited the patrol vehicle. He was still armed with the handgun and would not comply with officers’ directions. The male tried to open both the rear cargo compartment and the driver’s door of the patrol vehicle, despite officers’ orders to stop. Because he still posed a threat, a Police Service Dog was deployed on the male. The canine bit the male and officers were able to approach and subdue him. The male was still armed with the handgun at the time of his arrest.”

After officers provided aid to the man at the scene, he was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

SDPD’s Homicide Unit is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Police stated the following information in a news release:

“The names of the officers involved in this incident are not being released at this time, but they have been with the department for 8 years, 6 years and 10 months, respectively.

The investigation and review process for an officer-involved shooting is extremely thorough. When the Homicide Unit completes their investigation, it will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions. The Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an investigation to determine if there were any policy violations, and the Shooting Review Board will evaluate the tactics used by the officers. The Community Review Board on Police Practices will conduct a review of the incident and provide any appropriate recommendations. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office will also be monitoring the investigation.”

The San Diego NAACP released the following statement regarding the shooting:

Last night around 8pm, a Latino man was left in a San Diego Police Department squad car outside the Sally Port. He managed to slip his handcuffs and make his way into the trunk of the car. There, he found an officer’s backpack with a spare weapon in it. He took this weapon and then returned to the back seat of the vehicle.

When SDPD officers noticed the gun, they began to converge on the vehicle. They allegedly felt threatened and opened fire on the man. Next, they sent in a police dog to attack the injured man.

Now this 25-year-old man is injured and his family is traumatized. Who knows how many others were in the area when the shooting occurred, who may have been struck by a stray bullet. All because a man was left unsupervised in a vehicle in a crowded area.

There have been far too many dangerous incidents around the Sally Port. It is up to Mayor Faulconer and the City Council to take control of the situation and get the SDPD to do the right thing.

We call on the US Attorney and FBI, who are already investigating officer-involved-shootings in the SDPD, to do a complete investigation of:

  • The Sally Port and associated polices and procedures, with a view toward the safety of officers, detainees, and the public at large.
  • Policies and procedures that allow detainees to be left unsupervised in vehicles, especially in highly-trafficked areas.
  • Polices and procedures regarding “backup weapons;” whether they are permitted and how they must be secured if permitted.
We offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured man’s family and friends.