An off-duty San Diego County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the shoulder and rushed to a nearby hospital Monday in downtown San Diego.
The deputy was identified as Jason Philpot, an 11-year veteran of the department, SDSO spokesperson Ryan Keim said. He currently serves in the Emergency Services Division, which includes the SWAT team, Search and Rescue and the Helicopter Squad.
Philpot was shot near Island and Sixth avenues at 1:17 a.m. Monday. It happened on the sidewalk in front of the Gaslamp BBQ. A cook at one restaurant, the Tivoli Bar and Grill, heard the shots fired and immediately shut down the place for the safety of their employees.
Officers responded to the scene and found an off-duty deputy who was on his back conscious and breathing, SDPD Lt. Ernesto Servin told NBC 7. The deputy was transported to UC San Diego Medical Center. He was treated and released from the hospital Monday afternoon.
A second person who was walking in the street was shot in the arm, according to police. Servin said the second victim was a bystander who happened to be struck.
He was taken first to Sharp Coronado Hospital, but then transferred to UC San Diego Medical Center, police said. Both victims were described as having non-life threatening injuries.
Philpot is expected to recover from his injuries, Keim said. Friends and family visited him in the hospital, along with Sheriff Bill Gore, shortly after the incident.
"The Sheriff is grateful to the San Diego Police Department and all of the medical personnel who are providing Jason with the best possible care," said Keim, in a statement. "The Sheriff's Department will provide any possible assistance to SDPD as they investigate this crime."
Authorities say the shooting appeared to happen as a group of off-duty law enforcement officers was walking east along Island Avenue.
“There was some sort of confrontation. Exactly what was said, I don’t know,” Servin said.
A man pulled a gun on the group, officials said. The off-duty deputy started wrestling the suspect for the gun when three shots were fired, officers said. Those three shots hit Philpot in the shoulder, police said.
The suspect in the shooting was last seen running towards K Street. Servin said surveillance video from nearby businesses suggests there may be a second suspect involved.
Investigators said they have 14 witnesses to the shooting and several recordings from security cameras mounted on surrounding buildings.
"We think there may have been two suspects based on the video," Servin said. "Right now we’re focusing on the individual with the gun."
Officers blocked traffic along Seventh from Island to Market and Sixth from Island to Market. Island was also closed from Sixth to Fifth. The roads have since reopened.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Philpot and his family as they recover from this frightening event," said Keim.
The shooting location is approximately two blocks north of Petco Park and approximately two blocks west of Park at the Park. At the time, the streets were crowded because of a Metallica concert.
The corner was closed for several hours Monday morning as investigators gathered evidence.
The suspect who fired the shots was described as a man in his 30's, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing about 160 to 170 pounds with shoulder length dreadlocks.
Servin said two off-duty Escondido police officers were with the deputy at the time of the shooting. Those officers were uninjured.
No further information is available.