South Bay

Footage Released From Deadly Police Shooting on Freeway in Chula Vista

Officers believed the suspect pointed a firearm at them, according to investigators

A still image taken from SDPD helicopter footage showing the suspect's car stopped on the freeway with officer vehicles close behind.

Investigators released footage Thursday from a deadly multi-agency police shooting on Oct. 4 in Chula Vista that followed a high-speed pursuit spanning two counties.

The footage includes vantage points from officer-worn cameras and a law enforcement helicopter. The San Diego Sheriff's Department, the agency investigating the shooting, released the footage in an effort to be "open and transparent with the public," the department said.

Warning: The following video and pictures contain graphic imagery. Click here to watch.

The man killed in the shooting was identified as 30-year-old Christopher Ulmer of Whittier, California.

Just before midnight on Oct. 4, police in Santa Ana attempted to pull Ulmer over on suspicion of driving under the influence, the SDSO said. Ulmer refused to stop and took police on a pursuit that ended nearly 100 miles south on southbound Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, just north of Orange Avenue. CHP and SDPD officers took over the pursuit before the shooting incident.

As seen in footage from an SDPD helicopter, Ulmer's car comes to a stop in the middle of the freeway. Footage from an officer-worn camera shows the officer using his police car's PA system to give Ulmer commands to exit his vehicle and surrender.

Ulmer tries to take off again but pursuing officers quickly initiate at PIT maneuver causing Ulmer's car to spin 180 degrees.

A few seconds after spinning out, Ulmer opened his car door and exited his vehicle. Once out, he appeared to raise his arms and point an object at officers.

A split-screen image provided by the SDSO shows the moment from the vantage points of an SDPD officer's body camera and the helicopter.

A still image from SDPD helicopter footage (left), and a still image from an SDPD officer's body-worn camera (right). Both show the moment Ulmer exited his vehicle and appeared to point an object at officers. (Credit: SDSO)

According to SDSO investigators, responding officers believed the object Ulmer was pointing at them was a firearm, and multiple officers fired at him.

Ulmer can be seen stumbling away from his car and falling after the first shots from officers were fired. Meanwhile, his car rolls forward and collides with a CHP car.

The SDSO said Ulmer got back up and pointed an object at officers again before officers fired more shots. He fell to the ground a second time and did not get up.

Ulmer was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead, the SDSO said.

Investigators also released a photo of the object Ulmer was holding, which was found under his body after he fell the second time. They did not specify what it was but it did not appear to be a gun.

An image of the object investigators believe Ulmer was pointing at officers, and which responding officers believed to be a firearm. (Credit: SDSO)

The SDSO on Tuesday identified the officers invovled in the shooting as follows:

  • CHP Sergeant John Holm, a 22-year veteran
  • CHP Officer Pakko Mendez, an 11-year veteran
  • CHP Officer Javier Mendoza, a seven-year veteran
  • CHP Officer Lauren Chi, a three-year veteran
  • SDPD Sergeant Michael Pidgeon, a 26-year veteran
  • SDPD Officer Patrick Harvey, a six-year veteran

All officers involvled are on administrative leave, per agency policy.

The SDSO's investigation will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, which will determine if any officers bear criminal responsibility.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI will be monitoring the investigation, according to the SDSO.

No officers were injured in the incident.

A police chase across county lines ended in a deadly flurry of bullets. NBC 7's Omari Flemming has more.
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