Bulletproof vest helped CHP officer in shootout

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comOctober 29, 2012 

Authorities say a Templeton CHP officer’s bulletproof vest was instrumental in keeping him alive during Saturday’s early morning shootout in downtown Paso Robles.

“It was definitely a huge reason why he was treated and released so quickly,” said Cmdr. Brian Hascall of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

The detail was among the new information released Monday when authorities identified the shooting suspect as Clifford Albert Scott Jr., 22, of San Diego. As of Monday afternoon, Scott remained hospitalized, under guard and under arrest on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.

That officer, not yet named by authorities, was treated at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and released to his family Saturday.

Authorities say he’s a 30-year-old, six-year veteran of the agency.

He remains on paid administrative leave, as is standard after an officer-involved shooting, sheriff’s Cmdr. Ron Hastie said in a news release. Hastie said he expected the officer’s name to be released later this week.

Scott was booked in County Jail under a special absentee status because he remains at the hospital, Hastie said. Specifics on his condition or what hospital he’s at have not been disclosed.

The officer’s attempt to pull over Scott, who drove a newer model, dark gray Chevrolet Camaro, ultimately led to a car chase and foot pursuit through downtown, where the shots were fired.

But details on what exactly led to Scott’s dramatic getaway attempt remained unclear Monday.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, here’s what happened:

About 5:30 a.m. Saturday, the CHP officer attempted to stop the Camaro, which was traveling north on Highway 101 just south of the Spring Street exit, leading to a pursuit.

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

Midway down the block, Scott darted down an alley and ran toward Park Street.

When the pair got to Park, they fired on each other, and both were struck.

Scott, who underwent surgery for multiple gunshot wounds, had passengers in his car, but Hascall declined to say how many or what role they may have played in the incident.

The shooting has launched two investigations, he said, one by the Sheriff’s Office, looking into criminal allegations against the suspect, and another by the CHP to determine whether the officer’s actions were justified.

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