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September 13, 2007
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Possible sniper shoots Northern Calif. squad

By Marisa Lagos
The San Francisco Chronicle

RICHMOND, Calif. Someone apparently shot out the window of a Richmond police patrol car just outside the department's headquarters this morning, shattering the back window of the cruiser but not injuring the officer driving the vehicle, officials said.

The mystery shot occurred as a patrol officer was pulling out of the driveway of the new police headquarters at 1689 Regatta Blvd. around 7:40 a.m., said Lt. Mark Gagan. It comes one day after the department rolled out SWAT teams because of what officers call an escalating gang war on this East Bay city's streets. So far this week, 11 people have been shot, three of them fatally.

"(The officer) was pulling out of the main driveway going on patrol when he heard a pop and another officer did as well," Gagan said. "The shot came from the east, and there was a car speeding by in the other lane but we didn't get any info and there are a lot of places (around the station) for a sniper."

Police are investigating the incident but are so far unsure where the potential shooter was located, Gagan said, or whether the incident is related to the street violence. Additionally, he said, investigators have so far been unable to find any physical evidence in the area, such as a casing or bullet.

The department moved into the building on Regatta Boulevard earlier this month.

Gagan said investigators believe that the earlier shootings nine of them on Tuesday and two Wednesday morning are the result of gang wars between groups from north Richmond and the central area of the city. On Wednesday, the agency rolled out extra patrols to help quell the violence.

Wednesday was mostly quiet following the dispatch of those additional officers, and police said today that they would continue to put extra men and women on the street in problem areas.

"It's too early to determine who did this or why," Gagan said. "It's pretty upsetting when something like this happens."

Copyright 2007 San Francisco Chronicle

Full story: Possible sniper shoots Northern Calif. squad

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