Officer Shot After City Heights Police Chase

Officer Tim Bell is expected to survive

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A San Diego police officer was shot during a pursuit in City Heights. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus has details on the incident, which forced the shutdown of two major freeways.

    An officer was shot during a police chase Thursday that caused Interstate 805 and Interstate 15 to shut down.

    That officer has been identified as Officer Tim Bell, a 5and a half year member of the San Diego Police Department's Mid City Division.

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    Bell was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital. He was shot in the arm, leg and chest, but is expected to survive.

    "He's confident," Police Chief William Lansdowne said after meeting with Bell. "He's lucid and talking." 

    "It's an incredible relief."

    Lansdowne said Bell was going into surgery Thursday evening. He said a bulletproof vest may have saved the officer's life.

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    The incident started around 2:15 p.m. Police said officers were running surveillance on the suspect, who had outstanding felony warrants, in the 3700-block of Wightman Street. This led to a pursuit throughout the Mid City area.

    The suspect was later identified as Ignacio Canela, 31.

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    SDPD Chief William Lansdowne speaks with NBC 7's Dave Summers about an officer who was shot during a police pursuit in City Heights.

    Police said Canela ditched his car in the 3000-block of Central Avenue and ran into the drainage system. That's where he shot Bell.

    Canela was eventually taken into custody in the 2100-block of Haller Street.

    Witnesses said the suspect hopped a fence and was acting erratically before police caught him. 

    “We heard a guy screaming very loudly trying to get into someone’s house,” Ghazal Hosseini said.

    “We’ve never seen anything like that in our neighborhood before,” she added.

    Police are now looking for a female who was in the suspect's car during the chase. Police said she just stood there when the suspect ran off, but when police returned to talk to her, she was gone.

    The pursuit prompted the California Highway Patrol to close two major San Diego freeways. As of 4:45 p.m., both I-805 and I-15 had reopened in both directions.

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    Aerial pictures showed dozens of police cars lining the freeway. Traffic came to a standstill.

    “I was just biking down the 15, and all of a sudden I see cop cars in all directions," said witness Stephen Pierce.

    Pierce said he went around the road block to get to his friend’s home and was soon stopped by officers with semi-automatic rifles. He said they patted him down and detained him on the side of the highway before letting him go.

    CHP, San Diego police, Chula Vista police, Harbor police, National City police, San Diego County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Marshals all responded to the shooting.

    A command post has been established at 39th and Quince. Police expect to be processing the extensive crime scene into the night.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.

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