Gina Tenorio and Melissa Pinion-Whitt
San Bernardino County Sun
REDLANDS, Calif. — What started as a simple collision and a deputy's attempt to help a person in need led to a traffic nightmare and a shootout that wounded one man.
An off-duty deputy saw the crash and stopped to help, said Arden Wiltshire, sheriff's spokeswoman.
The driver got out of the car and ran, Wiltshire said. The deputy gave chase as he called sheriff's dispatch on his cell phone to report the crash.
The deputy followed the man off the freeway at Wabash Avenue, where he caught up to him and identified himself as a deputy, officials said. The driver then reached in his waistband and removed a semiautomatic handgun, Wiltshire said.
"He started firing," Wiltshire said. "The deputy fired back with his weapon."
There were several shots, Wiltshire said.
Perez was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center with wounds not believed to be life-threatening. The deputy was not wounded, Wiltshire said.
As of late Monday, investigators were still trying to determine why the man opened fire, Wiltshire said.
"I don't think they had a chance to talk to him because (Perez) just got out of surgery," she said.
For commuters, the shooting was a traffic headache as the CHP issued a Sig Alert at 3:25 a.m. and closed the Wabash off-ramp for several hours while sheriff's detectives investigated.
Perez remained in the hospital late Monday but was scheduled to be booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder on a peace officer when he recovers, officials said.
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Man fleeing from crash shot in clash with Calif. sheriff's deputy