One San Diego police officer was killed and another was wounded in a shootout following a late-night traffic stop, authorities said Friday. A suspect was wounded and taken into custody a short time later, and hours later police surrounded a home as they searched for an accomplice.
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 was at the hospital.
The officers, members 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 assistance from other officers, and the critically injured officer was rushed to the hospital in a police vehicle.
The male suspect was captured in a nearby ravine and was being treated Friday at a hospital. Police did not identify him, and his condition was unknown.
Residents were ordered to stay in their homes throughout the night as San Diego Police and officers from other law-enforcement agencies scoured ravines, yards, streets and alleys for other possible suspects. A helicopter hovered over the neighborhood.
About nine hours after the shootout, heavily armed police officers surrounded a house about a half-mile away, one of them using a bullhorn to urge a man to surrender. Authorities also detonated several devices at the scene that made deafening booms.
It was unclear whether the standoff was related to the shootout with the officers. A police spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Zimmerman was emotional after visiting the home of the slain officer to notify his relatives.
“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 told reporters that the officer’s prospects for recovery were good.
“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,” she said.
The shooting came as law officers around the country are on high alert following the targeted 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 after the shootings in his city. “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 Friday 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.