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WESTMINSTER : Suspect Shot, Injured After Car Hits Officer

March 18, 1994|GREG HERNANDEZ

A fleeing burglary suspect was shot and wounded by police in a quiet residential neighborhood early Thursday after he allegedly tried to run down a police officer with a car.

Tipped off by a neighbor, officers surprised four suspects apparently burglarizing a garage that had been left open in the 13400 block of Sioux Road about 4:30 a.m., police said.

Three of the suspects got into a car and tried to drive away, and a fourth escaped on foot. After one officer was hit by the car, a second fired at the driver, wounding him in the head, police said. The first officer was not seriously hurt.

Officers immediately arrested three suspects. The fourth managed to elude them for about seven hours, hiding in a tool shed four houses away until a homeowner found him and called police, who returned to the scene and arrested him.

The injured suspect, Quyen Nguyen, 21, of Westminster, underwent surgery at UCI Medical Center late Thursday afternoon and was in guarded condition in the surgical intensive care unit, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was being held on suspicion of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.

Also arrested on suspicion of burglary were Thanh Van Tran, 20, of Westminster, and Bao Nhat Nguyen, 21, and Quang Vu Nguyen, 19, both of Garden Grove. All are being held at Westminster jail.

Investigators spent several hours combing the scene for evidence, unaware that Quang Nguyen was hiding nearby in the back yard of a home in the 6100 block of Chippewa Drive.

The resident there had been unaware of the attempted burglary until he heard about it from a neighbor. He grew concerned after finding that a suspect was still at large, Lt. Rick Main said.

The resident then noticed that a screen had been removed from his shed, and on checking found a man inside. "The suspect told the (resident) he would give up to police and wait until they got there," Main said.

Within minutes, about a dozen officers arrived and made the arrest without incident. The officer who had been hit by the car was brought back to the scene and identified Nguyen as one of the suspects.

Incredulous neighbors watched from their driveways as the morning's events unfolded.

"Well, I hope they've got them all now," said 68-year-old Richard Schaible, who had been awake since the first arrests and the shooting took place.

"I heard the shots, so I came out to see what all the commotion was about," Schaible said. "I thought I might be able to be of help, but the policemen shouted at me to stay away. Everything was happening so fast."

The district attorney's office will investigate the incident, as is standard procedure in all officer-involved shootings.

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