COLTON (CBSLA) — A 27-year-old San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy escaped with only minor injuries after coming under heavy gunfire Tuesday afternoon in an ambush while attempting to make a traffic stop.
Wednesday evening, two San Bernardino Police Department SWAT officers were injured and a suspect was killed during a shooting in Highland that was connected to Tuesday’s shooting in San Bernardino.READ MORE: Woman Says She Was Refused Service At An Encino Dunkin' Donuts For Being Deaf
The officers made contact with the suspect around 3:38 p.m. near Victoria and 9th Street in the city of Highland at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred.
The shooting occurred at approximately 4:14 p.m. near Waterman Avenue and Olive Street in the city of San Bernardino.
The deputy had attempted to pull over a white BMW near a gas station on Waterman. The suspect sped away, with the deputy in pursuit. Less than a mile into the chase, security video showed the deputy getting ambushed in a hail of gunfire after rounding a corner. The suspect shot dozens of rounds at the sheriff’s cruiser, which then caught fire.
The deputy also returned fired, a San Bernardino police spokesperson confirmed to CBSLA Wednesday.
“We rushed out all of us here, and sure enough, one of our public servants was bleeding in the face,” neighbor Jose Guzman said Wednesday.
“Thank God we saw him walking, that was a relief, but his face was bloody,” Guzman added.
The deputy, a four-year veteran of the department, was rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton with minor injuries.
“Our deputy’s on the ground,” San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said during a Tuesday evening news conference. “They immediately start treating him with first aid, load him up in a car.”READ MORE: Illegal Marijuana Grow Bust Nets Nearly 30,000 Plants And Leads To 31 Arrests In San Bernardino
As of Wednesday morning, he was stable and was expected to make a fully recovery, the sheriff’s department tweeted.
“Superficial injuries to his face,” Dicus said. “We don’t know how those facial injuries occurred. And then some type of shrapnel in his arm.”
Investigators said they are working to confirm what ignited the fire that destroyed the deputy’s vehicle, but it very well could have been the barrage of bullets, most of which, if not all, missed the deputy.
“I visited with the deputy myself,” Dicus said. “The deputy is in good spirits. He’s coherent and talking and surrounded by his family.”
San Bernardino police reported late Tuesday night that the suspect’s vehicle was located at an apartment complex on Date Street, about three miles from the shooting scene. SWAT teams could be scene raiding an apartment. It’s unclear if anyone was taken into custody. At last report, the suspect remains at large.
Authorities have not yet released why the deputy was attempting to stop the BMW or what the suspect may have been running from. It’s unclear how many people were in the suspect’s vehicle.
Fellow officers are just relieved that the deputy survived what for most of them is their worst nightmare.
“It’s very traumatizing, and certainly not something you expect,” Dicus said. “We’ve got to remember, these folks that go out and do this job on our behalf as citizens day in and day out, take those risks. And you never know when you’re going to encounter somebody that is going to impose violence on you. Unfortunately, our department has experienced that a number of times over the last six months.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Related Hospitalizations Continue To Drop In Los Angeles County
San Bernardino police are investigating the shooting portion of the incident because the injured deputy was passing through city limits when attempting the traffic stop.