SAN DIEGO (AP) — A traffic stop led to a gunbattle that killed an anti-gang police officer and seriously wounded another, authorities said Friday. A suspect was shot and taken into custody while authorities searched for others who may have been involved.
The slain officer, a husband and father of two children, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died early Friday, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. The other officer underwent surgery and was expected to survive. His wife is at the hospital.
The officers, both part of the department’s gang suppression unit, made the traffic stop around 11 p.m. Thursday in San Diego’s modest Southcrest area and were shot in the upper torso. They quickly called for emergency cover, and the critically injured officer was rushed to the hospital in a police vehicle.
The male suspect, who was captured in a ravine, was being treated Friday at a hospital. His condition was unknown.
Residents were ordered to stay in their homes throughout the night as San Diego police and other law enforcement agencies scoured ravines, yards, streets and alleys for other possible suspects. A helicopter hovered above.
Zimmerman was emotional after visiting the home of the slain officer to notify the family.
“It is extremely difficult, but something you have to do,” she told reporters outside Scripps Mercy Hospital. “There’s nothing that prepares you to do that.”
After visiting the wounded officer later at UC San Diego Medical Center, Zimmerman said, “It’s a little bit of a long haul until he makes a full recovery, but the good news is that he is going to survive and he is going to recover.”
The shooting comes with law officers around the country on alert following the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this month.
“Violence against the men and women who wear the badge is violence against us all,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Friday. “I ask all San Diegans and all people across our nation to join together in support of our officers who courageously protect our communities. We need them and they need us.”
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch mentioned the San Diego shooting during a meeting with police officers and other first responders in Baton Rouge, where a gunman killed three on-duty law enforcement officers earlier this month.
“I know this community, more than most knows exactly what these families are feeling at this moment,” she said.