By PoliceOne Staff (with additional reporting from The Associated Press)
EL CAJON, Calif. — A newly-released video of the gunfight in El Cajon (Calif.) on Sunday afternoon shows an officer who was struck in the head as he fought his way out of the gunman’s line of fire. He then collapsed, and was dragged to safety by a fellow officer. The Los Angeles Times has reported that the officer — identified as Officer Jarred Slocum — is now listed in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery.
The incident claimed the life of a one-year-old girl, allegedly murdered by her father, identified as 31-year-old Kevin Collier — who also died after setting fire to the home, located in a neighborhood northeast of San Diego.
The standoff reportedly began when a two-officer squad responded to a radio call about a man brandishing a firearm outside the house. Collier reportedly murdered his daughter before taking aim on the two responding officers. Collier then set the house ablaze. A SWAT team found a man’s body — presumed to be Collier's — by the front door of the residence after firefighters and water-dropping helicopters doused the flames.
(If embedded video doesn't display properly, view video here.)
After the shooting the fire surged out of control, and firefighters with police protection and aid from a water-dropping helicopter put it out at about 7 p.m., Heartland Fire spokesman Sonny Saghera said.
Several homes in the area were evacuated and eastbound Interstate 8 was shut down while the fire burned. The freeway was reopened after about 90 minutes.
A SWAT team surrounded the house for much of the night, but turned the scene over to detectives when they determined it was safe, Coit said. He said no bodies had been found at the scene, and investigators were looking for the suspect or more victims.
Coit says Collier texted family members Sunday to say he’d killed his daughter and his mother-in-law, who remains missing.
Officers from San Diego, National City and Chula Vista, and deputies from the Sheriff's Department were also at the scene to assist.
Neighbor Pam Gatar who lives about a block from the scene said she was outside when she heard officers exchange fire with the suspect.
"We were walking towards the corner, and we start hearing gunshots, and we don't understand why," Gatar said. "There had to have been at least 15, 20 shots fired. Then we saw the police."
Richard Ogunsalu, who lives in the same complex as Gatar, was in the shower when he heard sirens and ran outside to see police everywhere and the house burning.
"I saw about 30 police cars, it was like martial law in the streets, man," Ogunsalu said. "There was black roaring smoke in the sky, it was crazy, it just kept coming up. It was like a movie man, it was surreal."