Shots fired during high-speed chase from East County to downtown San Diego

Posted at 4:47 AM, Sep 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 21:19:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego Police officer fired shots following a high-speed pursuit that began in Santee and ended in downtown San Diego with a crash involving a squad car and an arrest.

Just after 12 a.m. Friday, sheriff's deputies began following a stolen Range Rover on westbound Interstate 8 in the Santee area. However, the driver refused to pull over, leading a high-speed pursuit from the East County onto state Route 163 into the downtown area.

The driver sped through downtown, at times traveling on the wrong side of the road and driving down trolley tracks. Law enforcement officers stopped the chase for safety reasons.  A San Diego Police helicopter tracked the SUV.

Police said the driver encountered SDPD units in the area and intentionally tried to ram a marked vehicle with an officer inside, as well as a uniformed officer who was attempting to set up a spike strip on the road.

The suspect drove into the MTS trolley yard on Newton Ave., followed by officers. Police said the suspect drove directly toward a marked police vehicle and the officer fired several rounds at the man.

The SUV swerved and left the trolley yard.  Officers pursued the SUV to 6th Ave. and Broadway.  The SUV was making a slow-speed U-turn at the intersection when the same officer who fired the shots intentionally struck the SUV.

The driver was not injured during the shooting, but complained about pain from the collision.  He was arrested, and as he was being taken away from the scene, he looked into a camera and said, "Shout out to my mom ... I love you mom."

Police said the driver, 21-year-old Jeremiah Fetalaiga of La Mesa, was medically cleared at the hospital.

The officer who fired the shots was not identified. San Diego Police say he is a nine-year veteran of the department and currently assigned to the canine unit.

The owner of the SUV, Thomas Brierton told 10News he was trying to sell the car. He had posted an ad on Facebook and said he had gotten a response from a woman. She set up a time to come by, but Brierton said a man showed up on Thursday instead.

"At first I didn't think anything of it," he said. "I thought maybe he was a friend or a mechanic."

Brierton showed the man the inside of the car. The man then asked him to take him for a test drive. Brierton started the car and said the man jumped into the drivers seat and sped away.

"I was in shock. I was like, wow, did that really just happen," he said.

He said he did not have insurance to cover the theft and has a GoFundMe page to try and raise money to cover the costs.