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Officer Shot as Suspect Flees in Patrol Car

January 03, 1987|From Times Wire Services

SANTA BARBARA — A police officer was shot with his own gun early Friday as he struggled with a suspect who was driving away in the officer's patrol car, authorities said.

Police reported that Earvin Dennis, 34, an ex-convict, disappeared after abandoning the patrol car in the foothills east of the city, Lt. Don Williams said. But Dennis surrendered to police at midday Friday, Williams said.

Officer Jerald McBeth, 26, had stopped Dennis and his wife at 1:20 a.m. for an unspecified vehicle code violation, Williams said.

McBeth noticed a narcotics hypodermic kit in the vehicle and tried to arrest Dennis, but he resisted, Williams said. The officer had slapped a handcuff on one of McBeth's wrists, when his wife interfered and a police dog lunged toward her, Williams said.

In the ensuing confusion, Dennis broke away and jumped into the officer's car, Williams said. McBeth caught up with him and there was a struggle in the front seat of the patrol car. Dennis snatched the officer's gun and it discharged, striking McBeth in the elbow, Williams said.

Dennis pushed the officer out of the car and sped off, Williams said.

Police said Dennis would be charged with felony assault on a police officer, auto theft and parole violation.

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