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Suspect in patrol car theft is shot

December 26, 2007|Tony Perry | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Police chased and shot a 26-year-old man suspected of stealing a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department patrol car early Christmas morning.

The suspect, Regino Aguilar, was taken to a hospital with wounds that were not considered life-threatening. He will be booked into county jail on suspicion of auto theft, felony evading and assault, according to Lt. Kevin Rooney of the San Diego Police Department homicide squad.

Aguilar allegedly stole the black-and-white vehicle from 7900 Compton Ave. in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County about 7 a.m. At 8:39 a.m., he allegedly stopped at a gas station in Leucadia in northern San Diego County.

A local citizen, apparently finding it unusual that a marked Los Angeles County sheriff's vehicle was far from Los Angeles, called the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Minutes later, a second caller reported the vehicle weaving southbound on Interstate 5.

A third caller later reported that the car was unoccupied in an area south of downtown San Diego. When a California Highway Patrol officer approached the car, Aguilar jumped back in the vehicle, ran several red lights and drove onto Interstate 5, again southbound toward Mexico, police said.

CHP officers and San Diego police were chasing the suspect on Interstate 5 when Aguilar stopped the car in the median and suddenly jumped out.

When officers demanded that Aguilar surrender, he reportedly returned to the stolen vehicle and "began to pull on a shotgun secured between the front seats," Rooney said.

A CHP officer and a San Diego officer fired at Aguilar, Rooney said.

The CHP officer is a nine-year veteran; the San Diego officer has been with the department for two years. Neither of their names was released.

The investigation is continuing.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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