San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit has a message Friday for the gunman who fatally injured a police officer in City Heights this week: “You must surrender.
“We won’t stop looking for you until we arrest you,” Nisleit said at a brief press conference at the department’s headquarters downtown.
The shooting occurred late Thursday morning as the patrolman chased after a fleeing suspect in a residential area. Nisleit said the man fired several shots at the officer, one of which hit him in the right arm.
The shooter kept running.
Officers locked down the area where the shooting occurred and roamed the residential area of Chollas Creek for several hours. Police arrested one person, but later said he was not the shooter.
“We’re very comfortable saying he’s not our suspect,” Nisleit said. “The suspect is still pending.”
The injured policeman was taken to hospital. The chief said the officer had a “serious injury” but had been released from hospital and was recovering at home.
Nisleit said the department would continue to work to determine who and where the shooter is, and investigators consider him “armed and dangerous.”
“He’s a person who shot a policeman, and if he’s ready to shoot a policeman, I guarantee you he’s ready to shoot someone else,” Nisleit said.
The chief also asked people to come forward with information. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, Nisleit said. Investigators may consider increasing the reward amount in the coming days.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there is someone in this town who knows exactly who it is and knows exactly where it is – and that person needs to come forward,” Nisleit said.
The heavy police presence seen on Thursday — several officers going door to door, checking porches, looking across yards — was replaced on Friday by investigators searching for witnesses, video footage and evidence.
“I won’t go into the details of the investigative steps, but I will tell you that this department is on deck, from our sworn side to our civilian side to our crime lab,” Nisleit said.
Officials confirmed that the injured officer was wearing a body camera. They didn’t release many details about the investigation.
“We do not want to release any information that would give this person an advantage or jeopardize the criminal case against them,” police spokesman Lt. Adam Sharki said.
Sharki declined to say how much advice the department has received from the community, but added that “there are a lot of people paying attention to this, a lot of people have been affected by this.”
“There have been a lot of police interactions in this community over the past 24 hours,” Sharki said.
The incident happened around 11 a.m. Thursday in the Chollas Creek area of City Heights when the officer spotted a truck on University Avenue near Shiloh Road, San Diego Police Lt. Jud Campbell said. Campbell is part of the department’s Homicide Unit, which investigates all incidents when an officer is shot.
The patrolman followed the truck and soon learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen a few days earlier.
The officer attempted to pull the truck a few blocks south on Wightman Street, but the driver stopped, jumped and ran, Campbell said.
The policeman ran after the driver. As they entered an apartment complex, the driver pulled out a gun and opened fire, Campbell said.
Nisleit said he was concerned about what he said was an increase in incidents in which people shoot at police officers. Thursday’s shooting marked the second shooting in the past seven months in which a San Diego police officer was injured.
“I’m sick of it, to be honest with you. I’m sick of anarchy,” Nisleit said.
In December, an officer was shot by a fleeing suspect in the Mountain View community. Officials said his ballistic vest saved his life.
In April 2022, a California Highway Patrol was shot and injured on a Mission Valley highway.
Investigators have asked anyone with information about Thursday’s shooting to call the San Diego Police Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293.
Anonymous tips can be left by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or online at sdcrimestoppers.org.
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