12/04/2006

Calif. shootout leaves suspect dead, 1 officer wounded

By Rachel Cohen, Staff Writer
Inside Bay Area

HAYWARD- A traffic stop on northbound Interstate 880 erupted in gunfire Saturday afternoon, leaving the suspect dead and sending one Hayward police officer to the hospital with a serious abdominal injury, Hayward Police Lt. Reid Lindblom said.

The incident happened at 3:15 p.m. about halfway between the Industrial Boulevard and Tennyson Road exits. More than a dozen police cars raced to the scene, and both directions of the highway were closed, clogging the highway for miles and forcing frustrated drivers to navigate crowded neighborhood streets.

At about 4:20 p.m. a trickle of cars started passing through the southbound side, but northbound lanes remained closed for hours into the evening as police investigated the shooting.

A Hayward police officer issued the traffic stop on the vehicle which was reportedly linked to outstanding felony warrants on weapons violations.

When the officer signaled to pull the vehicle over the driver veered into the right shoulder of the highway. In the process, the suspect, who was alone, allegedly exited the car and began to shoot at the officer with a handgun. The officer returned fire and was shot in the abdomen.

Three other officers on the scene were also involved in the shooting in which the suspect was killed, Lindblom said.

The suspect's name has not been released, which is pending identification from the coroner.

The wounded officer, a seven-year Hayward Police Department veteran, remained at Eden Medical Center Saturday night and was expected to survive. His name was being withheld until his family had been notified, Lindblom added.

At the highway scene, the suspect's body lay in the middle of the freeway. Bullet casings littered the pavement, and police said shots had struck a couple of other cars, though no serious injuries were reported.

A report that one woman was grazed when a bullet went through her car door was heard several times on a police scanner, but police did not confirm the report.

About 10 cars were pulled over at various distances up to about 100 feet north of where the shooting occurred, as police officers with clipboards in hand interviewed possible witnesses. Some 25 to 35 yellow markers were set up around the body at various distances, while officers made measurements and took photographs for evidence.

Among the cars closer to the suspect's body were a van on the right shoulder with its driver's side window missing, and an sports utility vehicle in the middle lanes with what appeared to be an unmarked police car crashed into its rear bumper.

Some 20 Hayward police cars, California Highway Patrol cars, Hayward Fire Department fire engines and trucks were also at the scene.

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