HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - An officer's badge deflected a bullet fired by a domestic violence suspect and likely saved his life before the gunman died in a fiery crash in San Bernardino County, Huntington Beach police said Friday.
Huntington Beach police responded to a domestic violence call about midnight in the area of Yorktown Avenue and Bushard Street, according to Huntington Beach police Officer Jennifer Marlatt.
As officers arrived, the suspect jumped in a vehicle and fled, triggering a chase that ended in the fatal crash, Marlatt said.
As officers trailed the suspect on Yorktown, the man made a U-turn in the vehicle and then opened fire on his pursuers, Marlatt said.
A round pierced through the squad car's windshield and ricocheted off the officer's badge while another officer returned fire, Marlatt said.
The pursuit continued into Costa Mesa where the officers lost sight of the suspect, Marlatt said. With the help of officers from Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach, whose officers were looking for the suspect in a helicopter, they picked up the trail again, Marlatt said.
The pursuit continued on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway and to the Ontario (15) Freeway, Marlatt said.
California Highway Patrol officers took control of the chase north on the 15 Freeway, where the suspect ultimately veered off the road at about 2:30 a.m., in the Cajon Pass near the Cleghorn Road exit, Marlatt said.
The vehicle erupted in flames, which consumed the suspect, Marlatt said.
The officer whose badge redirected the bullet sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from an area hospital, Marlatt said.
The name of the fatally injured man was not immediately released.