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San Diego officer is shot four times; vest may have saved life

October 24, 2013|By Tony Perry

A San Diego police officer was shot four times -- in the chest, arm and leg -- after chasing a felony suspect, police said Thursday evening.

"It's very likely the ballistic armor [vest] saved his life," Capt. Terry McManus said.

The suspect, a gang member wanted on a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon, was taken into custody by other officers, McManus said.

San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne went to the hospital where the officer was undergoing surgery. Lansdowne said doctors predicted the officer would make a full recovery.

McManus said the incident began in the midafternoon with officers watching the suspect in the mid-city area and planning to make an arrest. The suspect then drove away, with police cars in pursuit, he said.

The suspect exited Interstate 15, jumped out of his car, ran into a canyon in the City Heights area and tried to escape by running into a drainage ditch, McManus said. The officer and suspect were in that ditch when the shooting occurred, he said.

A woman who was with the suspect escaped in the melee and is being sought, McManus said.

A radio call of 1199 -- which means "officer needs assistance" -- brought dozens of officers from the San Diego Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

Lansdowne said the injured officer's wife, mother and stepfather were at the hospital. The officer, he said, was "conscious and talking" before surgery.

Acting Mayor Todd Gloria said that the officer's wounds "while serious, are not life-threatening."

"The incident is, of course, a reminder that the brave men and women of the San Diego Police Department put their lives on the line every day," Gloria said.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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