An El Cajon police officer was punched and knocked to the ground Monday morning when responding to a petty theft call.
The incident happened at approximately 10 a.m., when witnesses called the police to report a petty theft in progress at the Dollar Tree on Fletcher Parkway, near Johnson Avenue. The location is approximately a block from the Parkway Plaza mall, north of Interstate 8.
When officers responded, they followed the man to a KFC restaurant. When an officer made contact with the suspect in the restaurant, he was punched and knocked out, El Cajon Police Department Lt. Taylor said.
The Dollar Tree's assistant manager told NBC 7 he couldn't believe what he saw.
"He just started yelling at me, insulting me," Kevin Rivera, the Dollar Store Assistant Manager said. "He just wanted to knock me out. I was in shock, I was scared and in shock. I never witnessed anything like that."
Officers took the suspect into custody. He was described as an El Cajon resident in his 40s.
The police officer was taken to a local hospital with significant head trauma.
“The trauma to the officer was worse than we thought,” ECPD lt. Randy Soulard said. “But thankfully he’s expected to survive.”
No other information was available.