An off-duty San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy opened fire on the driver of a car Sunday, moments after a fellow deputy was run over in a Vista convenience store parking lot.
Three off-duty deputies and one driver were injured following the incident at East Vista and Palomar Place, San Diego County Sheriff's officials (SDSO) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers said.
SDSO Lt. Kenneth Nelson told NBC 7 San Diego the incident began at 2 a.m. when several men were fighting near a car parked outside a 7-Eleven.
Investigators say suspect Alejandro Blanco, 32, was in some type of altercation with a group of guys over foul comments made about a female companion. The parties did not appear to know each other, officials said.
The three deputies happened to be in the shopping center nearby and came over to de-escalate the situation and break up the fight, Nelson said.
Blanco, who was driving a Nissan Maxima, suddenly put his car in reverse, running over one deputy and knocking another on the hood of the car, Nelson said.
Blanco switched from reverse to forward drive, accelerating toward the third deputy, Nelson said. That's when the off-duty deputy fired his revolver twice, hitting Blanco in the upper torso, Nelson said.
The driver and all three deputies suffered non life-threatening injuries and were taken to local hospitals.
The deputies involved have not been identified by SDSO officials. Investigators would not disclose in which department they work.
At the time, the deputies were not in uniform, though SDSO officials say they have indications the deputies did identify themselves. It is unclear if the discharged gun was the deputy's personal or work-issued gun.
Blanco, an Oceanside resident, has been booked on multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Neighbors in the area described how they woke up to gunshots.
"I heard a lady and some man arguing over something and suddenly I heard some gun shots," said Armando Sosa, a neighbor.
"I was thrown back by everything. I didn't think it was this big of a deal because I always hear gun shots," said Linda Garcia, a neighbor.
The SDSO's Homicide Unit is investigating as is protocol in deputy-involved shootings. SDSO officials have also notified the FBI Civil Rights Division, a new protocol recently put into place, Nelson said.
SDSO officials say they are still interviewing people and investigating the incident.
Anyone with information about this incident can call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321/after hours at (858) 565-5200. You can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.