A suspect fleeing a police officer in the city of South San Francisco turned and cracked him in the head with a skateboard, leaving the 12-year department veteran in critical condition Friday, the police chief said.
The officer suffered traumatic head injuries in the Thursday afternoon attack and underwent surgery, Chief Jeff Azzopardi told reporters. The officer's name was not released, but Azzopardi said he is married with two young children.
Several people had flagged down the officer to report a person behaving aggressively and irrationally. The man immediately became confrontational when the officer approached and tried to flee on the skateboard, the chief said.
"After a short foot chase, the subject turned on the officer and intentionally struck him in the head with his skateboard, knocking him unconscious," he said.
Another officer took the man into custody a short time later, and police provided medical aid to their injured colleague until firefighters arrived to take him to a hospital.
Luis Alberto Ramos-Coreas, 28, of South San Francisco, was jailed on suspicion of numerous felony charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, Azzopardi said.
Ramos-Coreas has a lengthy history of "criminal contacts" with the Police Department, including incidents of violence, Azzopardi said, without releasing further details or taking questions at a news conference.
"Law enforcement is going through difficult times with targeted, unprovoked attacks on police officers," Azzopardi said. "Yesterday, this hit home in South San Francisco."
Attacks have killed five California law enforcement officers in the line of duty in less than two months.
A Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy was fatally shot in the head Nov. 13 while checking a suspicious van, and a Modoc County deputy was shot to death Oct. 19 while responding to a domestic violence call in rural area.
Two Palm Springs police officers were gunned down outside a home where a disturbance was reported Oct. 8, three days after a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant was fatally shot while answering a burglary call.
South San Francisco Mayor Mark Addiego said the violence was hard to understand.
"I feel when these type of incidents happen, as rare as they might be, we all lose a little bit of our collective innocence as a community. To me, that's deeply troubling, greatly disheartening," Addiego said.