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Suspect Wounded Trying to Elude Police

COSTA MESA | COMMUNITY NEWS FOCUS

December 13, 1996|BONNIE HAYES and THAO HUA and JOHN CANALIS

A suspect wanted for attempted rape and burglary was shot and injured by Santa Ana police Thursday while trying to evade arrest, authorities said.

The 26-year-old man became agitated when detectives questioned him in the Caterair International office building on Airway Avenue about crimes committed Wednesday evening in Santa Ana.

A fistfight broke out between the man and the officers, witnesses said.

"They were yelling and throwing punches and turning desks over," said Vicki Rodriguez, a Caterair employee.

The suspect, whom police refused to identify, ran outside shortly after noon with the detectives close behind. Once outside the building, the man cut himself while trying to scale a barbed wire fence.

"They caught up with him, there was a struggle and a shot was fired," said Costa Mesa Police Capt. Rick Johnson.

Johnson would not say where the man was shot, although employees said it was in the leg as he tried to climb the fence surrounding the industrial building. He was later arrested for burglary, attempted rape and charges related to the altercation with police, Johnson said.

The names of the Santa Ana detectives were not released. The Costa Mesa Police Department, which was not on scene when the shot was fired, is investigating the shooting with the Orange County district attorney's office.

The suspect was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana for treatment. Hospital officials declined to discuss his condition.

One of the Santa Ana detectives injured his knee during the struggle and was wheeled into an ambulance. The dark-haired officer, wearing a tie and dress pants, smiled weakly at onlookers while he was pushed through the parking lot.

"I'm O.K.," he said with a wave. He also was taken to Western.

Jessica Haslaue, a dispatcher for Caterair, said the suspect was a dishwasher for the company, which provides commercial airline food.

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