The family of a woman shot and killed by a police officer following a high-speed pursuit in a stolen car in east San Diego released a statement Thursday, saying their loved one “never hurt anyone.”
“She had a kind heart, an easy smile, and she never hurt anyone,” said the family of Kelsey Rose Hauser, 25.
Hauser, of Conifer, Colo., was riding in a stolen red Toyota along with three men, including driver Geoffrey Hayden Sims, on Jan. 16, in El Cajon, about 16 miles east of downtown San Diego.
At around 1:25 a.m., officers from the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) spotted the stolen vehicle and tried to pull over the group.
Sims, a fugitive from Golden, Colo., pulled over near Walter Way and Main Street. However, when officers approached the car, Sims hit the gas and fled northbound on Second Street, then drove onto westbound Interstate 8.
A high-speed chase ensued. With emergency lights and sirens activated, ECPD officers pursued the Toyota. At one point the pursuit reached speeds of 90 mph, police said. Officers called for backup from California Highway Patrol.
Eventually, the stolen car exited the freeway at West Main Street and continued to South Pierce Street, which is a cul-de-sac.
As the car reached the dead end, police said Sims made a U-turn, bringing the Toyota head-on with pursuing officers. The stolen car came to a halt and an officer again tried to contact the four people inside.
According to the ECPD, as the officer got out of his patrol car, the suspect allegedly drove the stolen vehicle towards the officer. The officer fired four rounds at the suspects’ vehicle investigators; he said he feared for his life.
The gunfire struck Hauser, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, as well as a dog inside the car.
Sims then rammed the stolen car into another police vehicle that was approaching the scene. The car then finally came to a stop, police said.
Officers swarmed Sims’ car and arrested him and the two men in the back seat. One of those passengers was identified as Brian Alan Blafield, of El Cajon.
The ECPD said Blafield and the other passenger were booked into jail on suspicion of possession of narcotics. Sims was also booked into jail.
Hauser was taken to a local hospital. She died a short time later from injuries suffered in the officer-involved shooting, the police department confirmed. The dog also died.
In the newly-released statement from Hauser’s family, made public on their behalf via public information officer Michael Davis of the Elk Creek Fire Department in Conifer, the family discussed how painful Hauser’s death has been.
“Our family is grieving, and there are no words to express the pain and sorrow we are experiencing following the sudden loss of our daughter Kelsey. We miss her immensely. She was bright and fun loving,” the family said.
According to El Cajon police, Hauser was wanted on a felony warrant in Colorado, though it is not clear for what crime.
“As a young adult, Kelsey had her problems; we did our best to help her work through these and see
her fulfill her potential, but those hopes are now gone,” Hauser’s family said in their statement. “Through it all, Kelsey was a good person.”
Police said Sims was also wanted in Colorado on two felony arrest warrants.
He was booked into jail on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer likely to create great bodily injury and felony evading. The vehicle involved in the pursuit had been reported stolen out of Denver on Aug. 11, 2015.
Sims was arraigned in San Diego on Thursday.
The ECPD identified the officer involved in the deadly shooting as Officer Samson Pak, who is assigned to the Patrol Division. Pak has been an officer for three years, the police department said.
Following the shooting, the officer was placed on administrative leave, standard procedure for officers involved in a fatal incident, the ECPD confirmed.
No officers were injured in this shooting and there are no outstanding suspects, police said.
Hauser’s family said they do not want to speak publicly anymore about their loved one’s death and asked the media to respect their privacy at this time.
“Kelsey’s passing has left a void in our hearts that can never be filled. We would like to thank all our friends and family who have reached out to us. We are very lucky to have so many people who care about us. At this time, we are busy making arrangements to bring Kelsey home. There will be no further statements on behalf of the family, and we ask to be left in private to mourn our loss,” the family added.
Meanwhile, a complete investigation on this officer-involved shooting will take place by the agency with jurisdiction for the El Cajon area, as is protocol for this type of case.
The San Diego County District Attorney's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will also review the incident. When investigators present evidence to those agencies, they will show video recorded by police cameras, ECPD officials said.
Anyone with information on this case should call the ECPD at (619) 579-3311 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.