Police Shoot Pursuit Suspect in Mt. Hope

Officers swarmed the Mt. Hope area in pursuit of a suspect in a red vehicle

A man shot by San Diego police officers during a vehicle pursuit Thursday remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, officials confirmed.

The pursuit, which ended in an officer-involved shooting in the Mt. Hope area, first began around 8:30 a.m. According to San Diego Police Department Lt. Kevin Mayer, a sergeant first spotted the driver of an orange 2002 Saturn around 8:30 a.m., allegedly talking on his cell phone while driving.

The sergeant attempted to pull over the 40-year-old man for the traffic violation, and the driver yielded in the 5400-block of Grape Street. However, the suspect soon took off, and a police pursuit ensued.

Amid the chase, Lt. Mayer said officers learned the suspect vehicle was possibly wanted in connection with a shooting that happened Monday in the 4400-block of Logan Avenue in Logan Heights. In that incident, two people were shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

After driving for an hour through San Diego and National City, the chase came to a halt around 9:30 a.m. in the 800-block of 41st Street and Hilltop.

According to police, the suspect pointed a gun toward the officers. Four police officers fired shots at him, hitting the man at least four times.

In tense moments captured on tape by NBC 7 San Diego, dozens of police officers swarmed the suspect's vehicle with guns drawn. Bullet holes could be seen on the red car's front windshield.

At one point, a police K-9 jumped into the passenger's seat of the suspect vehicle, then jumped out.

Minutes later, with the red car still surrounded by officers, the driver was pulled from the vehicle and handcuffed on the ground.

The wounded man was transported to a local hospital with unspecified injuries. He remained in critical condition Friday. His name has not yet been released but police say they will likely identify him by name over the weekend.

Officials said no police officers were injured in the shooting.

The man's gun and drugs were left at the scene, according to police.

Witness Frankie Martinez spoke with NBC 7 at the scene and said he saw police fire several rounds at the suspect.

"He just stopped, and they started shooting at him," Martinez explained. "Everybody started unloading on him. He got smoked. He probably did something bad for that to happen. They didn't even give him a chance."

According to Martinez, the suspect was traveling with a female passenger. At one point, the suspect dropped the woman off on the street, Martinez said.

Lt. Mayer said the officer-involved shooting is under investigation. It is unclear whether the suspect opened fire on officers as well or if only police fired shots. Officials said the four officers involved have been on the force 6, 7, 9 and 24 years.

Police said the woman was in the car with the man is being treated as a witness at this point, not a suspect. Investigators said the woman exited the car before the officer-involved shooting and was the one who told police the man had a gun.

Officials said the man faces a host of charges that include felony evasion and gun and drug possession.

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