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Officer Shot as Auto Stop Turns Violent

December 27, 1987|DAVID SMOLLAR | Times Staff Writer

A San Diego police officer was in fair condition late Saturday with a gunshot wound to the upper arm after an early-morning traffic stop became violent, resulting in the shooting of the officer and a special police action around an apartment in East San Diego.

The incident was the most serious of three traffic stops throughout the county--two in San Diego and one in Carlsbad--that turned into major altercations.

Officer Scott W. Haney remained at UC San Diego Medical Center in fair condition with a shattered bone in his arm after a shooting shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday on the ramp from southbound California 163 to Interstate 5.

Haney had pulled over a 1977 red Chevrolet after he noticed the car was weaving, spokesman Rick Carlson said. As Haney approached the left rear fender of the car, the driver pointed a small-caliber automatic rifle out the window and fired at least two shots, Carlson said.

Had on Bulletproof Vest

The wounded Haney--who was wearing a bulletproof vest that stopped one bullet--managed to fire off the six rounds from his service revolver at the car as it sped away and was also able to radio for assistance, Carlson said.

Haney had radioed the car's license plate information to a police dispatcher before he stopped the car as part of normal procedure in making a traffic stop, Lt. Tom Orden said. Using that information, police traced the car's owner to an apartment in a 10-unit building in the 3500 block of 42nd Street in East San Diego, Orden said. The car was spotted with gunshot damage consistent with the shots fired by Haney, he said.

Because the suspect was considered armed--having already fired off several shots at Haney--the special police SWAT unit was activated at 4:30 a.m., Carlson said. Residents of adjacent apartments at the building were evacuated in case of possible gunfire, after which police demanded through a bullhorn that occupants of the apartment come out.

Carlson said that four men left the apartment peacefully about 7:30 a.m. and were taken into custody for questioning. Booked into the county jail downtown on suspicion of attempted murder was Raul Zamudio Cortez, 22, of 915 B Ave. in National City, Carlson said. A jail spokesman said late Saturday that no bail has been set.

The other three people were released by police, and no charges are pending, Orden said. The registered owner of the Chevrolet lives at the 42nd Street address, he said.

Weapon Recovered

Police recovered a weapon believed used by the suspect during a search of the apartment after the arrest of the four men. SWAT officers fired tear gas into the apartment prior to the search as a normal precaution, Orden said. He said police were not certain that everyone had come out of the apartment.

In an incident late Friday, two police officers required medical attention after two brothers began fighting the officers after their car was stopped for not having a rear license plate, Orden said.

Officers Rodolfo Reyes and Curtis Meyer attempted to stop a car driven by Russell Cruz in the 2400 block of Calle Tres Lomas in Paradise Hills, Orden said. The car pulled into the Cruz family driveway where Cruz and the car's passenger, Russell's brother Louis, refused to show identification and began attacking the two officers, Orden said.

The officers managed to place Russell Cruz unhandcuffed in the back seat of their squad car but he kicked out the window and continued the fight, which two other younger brothers who had been inside the house came out to join, Orden said. The four brothers were subdued after the officers called for additional police officers, including a canine unit.

Both Booked Into Jail

Both Russell and Louis Cruz were booked into the downtown jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, of attacking a police officer and attempted grand theft. Russell is also suspected of misdemeanor vandalism. Bail for Louis Cruz is set at $8,000, along with $778 in unpaid traffic warrants--and bail for Russell Cruz is set at $8,170, a jail spokesman said. Russell Cruz was separated from his brother and moved to another jail facility late Saturday for being hostile to sheriff's deputies, the spokesman said.

Two younger brothers were taken into custody and booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of assaulting officers, Orden said.

Reyes was released from Paradise Valley Hospital after treatment for cuts to his nose and face. Meyer was treated and released for injuries to his jaw. Russell Cruz was treated at the jail ward of Physicians and Surgeons Hospital for dog bites to his left arm and right leg from a police dog, Orden said.

In Carlsbad, a 19-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine led officers of both Carlsbad police and the California Highway Patrol on an hourlong high-speed chase through Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista after an attempted stop for speeding, a Carlsbad police spokesman said.

Lost Control of Car

Carlsbad police said the driver of a high-performance sports car was pursued along southbound Interstate 5 from Elm Street to La Costa Avenue, then back northbound on I-5 to Oceanside Boulevard westbound, then to Hill Street southbound, and then eastbound on State 78 to the Twin Oaks Valley Road exit where the driver lost control of the car. The driver tried to run down Carlsbad Officer Joe Young during the brief turnaround on La Costa Avenue when Young got out of his car to try to arrest him.

Joseph Gerkin was booked into the Vista jail on suspicion of assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon, with reckless driving and with resisting an officer, a jail spokesman said. Bail was set at $6,225. Gerkin also has unpaid traffic warrants totaling $284, the spokesman said.

A passenger in the car, 18-year-old Sharon Spada, was released from Vista Jail on her own recognizance after being arrested for unpaid traffic warrants, the Carlsbad spokesman said.

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