CHP, Pursuit Suspect Trade Gunfire During Pursuit Ending in East County

No officers were injured in the incident

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A pursuit suspect and a CHP officer traded gunfire during a wild and dangerous chase spanning from Mission Valley to the East County. The pursuit ended in a crash that shut down a portion of Interstate 8 for hours.

It all started when the driver of a Toyota 4-Runner sped past a traffic break on I-8 near State Route 163, according to the CHP. Officers tried to pull the SUV over, but the driver, who was later identified as 26-year-old Alec Zachary Bennett, refused.

The first gunfire exchange occurred near the interchange of eastbound I-8 and SR-67 in El Cajon when Bennett opened fire out of the window, the CHP said.

Then, as the suspect approached Tavern Road in Alpine, he positioned his vehicle in a manner to open fire on officers again. A CHP officer opened fire on Bennett but did not hit him.

Officers continued to chase the suspect eastbound until he drove over spike strips on I-8 near Buckman Springs Road. He lost control of his vehicle and crashed down an embankment off the shoulder of the roadway, then ran from the crash into a nearby Caltrans maintenance yard.

Officers gave chase and even Tazered Bennett, but ultimately it was a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit that took him down.

No officers were injured during the incident. Bennett sustained minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital. He faces two felonies: attempted murder on a peace officer and evading arrest.

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