PD: Officer Shot in Tunnel Released from Hospital

Police say SDPD Officer Tim Bell was shot by wanted suspect Ignacio Canela during a pursuit in City Heights

A San Diego police officer who was shot several times by a suspect during a pursuit in City Heights was released from the hospital Friday, officials confirmed.

According to police, Officer Tim Bell – who’s been a member of the San Diego Police Department’s Mid City Division for more than five years – was shot in arm, chest and leg Thursday by suspect Ignacio Canela, 31.

Police said the shooting happened inside a drainage tunnel under the split between Interstate 805 and Interstate 15 in City Heights following a police pursuit of Canela, a suspect wanted on multiple felony warrants.

At around 2:15 p.m., officers tried to stop a vehicle driven by Canela. When officers activated their lights and sirens, Canela sped away, driving north on I-15.

Police said the suspect exited on Adams Avenue and drove south to the dead end of the 3000-block of Central Avenue, where he and a female passenger got out of the car.

Canela then fled on foot into a nearby canyon area, running into a drainage tunnel under the I-805 an I-15 split. Officers pursued Canela on foot and as Officer Bell entered the tunnel, he was allegedly shot by the suspect, police said.

SDPD Capt. Terry McManus, who’s heading the shooting investigation, said Officer Bell was the first officer to enter the tunnel. The officer was inside alone when he was met with gunfire, just before 3:30 p.m.

Capt. McManus said Canela fired at least seven shots inside the tunnel and Officer Bell was struck four times. Canela then fled west through the tunnel.

As other officers reached the tunnel, they quickly carried Officer Bell away. They applied a tourniquet to his wounds, loaded him into a police car and rushed him to a local hospital.

Meanwhile, other officers quickly established a perimeter around the drainage tunnel, expecting Canela to exit at the west end of the tunnel, which feeds into a residential area.

Capt. McManus said officers had to put a plan together quickly to prevent the suspect from getting into the residential area and harming anyone else.

As Canela exited the drainage system, officers waiting in the area captured the suspect and took him into custody in the 2100-block of Haller Street. Capt. McManus said Canela was arrested by 3:42 p.m., less than 15 minutes after Bell was shot.

Capt. McManus said officers recovered the gun allegedly used by Canela to shoot Officer Bell. He said the weapon was allegedly stolen in a City Heights burglary in September.

According Capt. McManus, the investigation is ongoing. As of Friday, detectives were still gathering evidence and processing the extensive scene in City Heights.

Capt. McManus said the case against Canela will be presented to the District Attorney’s office on Monday. The suspect is being charged with several counts, including attempted murder, evading an officer and felon in possession of a firearm. Canela’s arraignment is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday.

In the meantime, SDPD Chief William Lansdowne said Officer Bell has undergone surgery and been treated and released from the hospital. Chief Lansdowne said Officer Bell will continue to recover at home and is in good spirits.

“He’s positive, upbeat and ready to go back to work. It’ll be longer than he’d like it to be though [before he returns to work],” said Chief Lansdowne.

The chief said Bell’s family – which includes a wife and three young children – are positive and grateful that Bell survived the shooting.

“Officer Bell will fully recover and is resting with family and loved ones,” Capt. McManus added.

Both Capt. McManus and SDPD Lt. Jorge Duran said the female passenger who was in the car with Canela is still on the loose. Officers are working to locate the woman for questioning.

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