03/07/2007

Assaulted Calif. officer shoots motorist

By Alejandro Alfonso
Inside Bay Area

SAN LORENZO — A California Highway Patrol officer shot a man after he crashed his car into her vehicle and allegedly assaulted the female officer, the Alameda County Sheriffs Office reported.

The officer had stopped another vehicle when the incident occurred early Sunday morning.

Sheriffs detectives are investigating the shooting as a felony assault on a peace officer, but sheriffs Detective Ray Kelly said the 38-year-old suspect is believed to be mentally ill and might have been trying to commit suicide by cop.

Right now, the criminal side of this is the least of our worries, Kelly said. Basically, he is mentally ill to some extent and I think he is suicidal. Right now, were just trying to keep him safe.

The suspect, who is from San Francisco and whose name was being withheld, has no prior criminal history except for a past DUI arrest, Kelly said. After the shooting, he was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and operated on for a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to a sheriffs spokesman.

The suspect has not been following doctors orders and tried to escape from the hospital Monday, reopening the wounds he suffered when he was shot, Kelly said.

The man was expected to survive the shooting, but complications could arise from this type of injury, Kelly said.

During the traffic stop on northbound Hesperian Boulevard near Lewelling Boulevard about 3:20 a.m., another vehicle rear-ended the stopped patrol car, according to the sheriffs office. The driver of that vehicle got out of his car and confronted the officer and a trainee on the scene.

The suspect allegedly bum-rushed the officer, possibly going for her gun, Kelly said. When the incident occurred, the officer — a training officer who had a trainee with her at the time of the shooting — had stopped a car with four occupants, Kelly said.

He did attack the officer, Kelly said. And she did the best with what she had to deal with.

The officer was placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy. She was not injured, a sheriffs spokesman said.

The driver of the vehicle she had pulled over was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and the initial investigation found no connection between him and the suspect, a sheriffs spokesman said.

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