CHP officer, suspect are wounded in a shootout

Attempt to pull over a driver takes a dramatic turn when a pursuit and gunfight follows

tweber@thetribunenews.comOctober 27, 2012 


A CHP officer and a suspect shot and wounded each other Saturday in a dramatic gunfight in downtown Paso Robles after engaging in a car chase and then a pursuit on foot.

Both were struck and fell on 14th Street midway between Park and Pine streets shortly before 6 a.m.

CHP officers and Paso Robles police arrived moments later and called for paramedics, who took the men to hospitals for treatment, sheriff’s Cmdr. Brian Hascall said.

Hascall did not identify the suspect or CHP officer, saying that information will be released in coming days.

The CHP officer was treated at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and released to his family by midday, Hascall said. He would not say how many times the CHP officer had been shot.

A CHP spokesman said the patrolman worked out of the agency’s Templeton office. Hascall said the officer was put on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice for law enforcement agencies when an officer-involved shooting occurs.

The male suspect underwent surgery for multiple gunshot wounds at an undisclosed facility.

The suspect was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer, Hascall said. County Jail corrections deputies were guarding the man. Formal booking of the suspect will occur once his condition permits. Hascall said the man was not a resident of San Luis Obispo County.

A section of downtown Paso Robles — 13th to 14th streets and Park to Pine streets — was cordoned off for much of the day as investigators looked for evidence related to the shooting. Curious onlookers bordered police tape to watch the investigators examine bullet casings and other evidence on the street.

The suspect crashed a newer-model, charcoal-colored Chevrolet Camaro at 13th and Spring streets, and that spot was blocked off with police tape as well.

Hascall said 10 to 15 investigators from the Sheriff’s Office were working on the case.

“This one is pretty complex because of multiple areas where things occurred,” he said.

He gave this account of what happened:

About 5:30 a.m., the CHP officer attempted to pull the Camaro over as it headed north on Highway 101 between the Highway 46 West interchange and Spring Street. Hascall did not know why the officer was trying to stop the driver.

The suspect would not stop and instead began trying to speed away from the CHP officer. A pursuit began, with the suspect’s car exiting the highway at Spring Street.

The chase continued down Spring Street until the suspect crashed into a tree at 13th and Spring, next to the Great American Antiques Mall. The man then got out of his car and began running down 13th Street. The CHP officer ran after him.

Midway down the block, the suspect darted down an alley and ran toward Park Street. When the pair got to Park, they fired on each other, and both fell as a result of their injuries.

Hascall said each fired a handgun at the other; he could not give the caliber of the weapons.

By early afternoon, clothing from one or both of the men remained on the street, just down the road from the Panolivo olive oil shop and Wallace Home Medical Supplies.

Other people were in the Camaro with the suspect, and they were being interviewed by investigators but were not arrested, Hascall said. No one else was hurt during the incident, he said.

See a photo gallery of the CHP investigation.

Previous updates

Update at 3:30 p.m.: The CHP officer has been treated for his injuries and released from the hospital, said Hascall. He said the officer's name will likely be released next week. Hascall would not outline how many wounds the officer had, but said the officer has been placed on paid, administrative leave as a result of the shooting, which is standard practice whenever an officer fires a weapon in the line of duty.

The suspect sustained multiple injuries and was undergoing surgery at an undisclosed hospital. Hascall did not know exactly where the suspect was from, but said he was not a San Luis Obispo County resident.

The car driven by the suspect is a newer-model Chevrolet Camero that is charcoal colored. It came to rest against a street tree next to Great American Antiques shop.

A section of downtown remains cordoned off as investigators examine evidence. The closed section runs from 13th Street to 14th Street and Park to Pine streets.

Update at 11:15 a.m.: Sheriff’s Cmdr. Brian Hascall said that around 5:30 a.m. today a CHP officer attempted to pull a car over headed north on Highway 101, between the Highway 46 West interchange and Spring Street in Paso Robles.

The male driver of the car would not stop, and instead began trying to speed from the CHP officer, Hascall said. A pursuit began, with the suspect’s car exiting the highway at Spring Street.

The chase continued down Spring Street until the suspect crashed into a tree at 13th Street and Spring Street. The man then got out of his car and began running. The CHP officer followed, and the two exchanged shots at 14th and Park streets.

“During the gunfire, both struck each other” with shots, Hascall said.

The officer and suspect were taken to a hospital for treatment. Hascall would not disclose which medical facility received the men.

Because the investigation is continuing, Hascall would not detail the injuries each man received. He did not know their ages.

Paso Robles police are helping the Sheriff’s Office and CHP investigate. The District Attorney’s Office is also assisting because the incident is an officer-involved shooting, Hascall said.

Hascall was unsure whether authorities would have any other details to release today.

  Initial post: Sheriff's deputies, the CHP and Paso Robles police are at the scene of an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Paso Robles earlier this morning.

A command post has been set up at 14th and Park streets, which is near where the shooting took place.

More details will be posted as they become available.

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