COLTON (CBSLA) — A 27-year-old San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy came away with only minor injuries after coming under heavy gunfire Tuesday afternoon in an ambush while attempting to make a traffic stop.
The shooting occurred at approximately 4:14 p.m. near Waterman Avenue and Olive Street in the city of San Bernardino.
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Security video of the attempted traffic stop showed the deputy getting ambushed after rounding a corner in pursuit of a white BMW. The suspect shot dozens of rounds at the sheriff’s cruiser, which then caught fire.
“Our deputy’s on the ground,” San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said during a Tuesday evening news conference. “They immediately start treating him with first aid, load him up in a car.”
The deputy, a four-year veteran of the department, was rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton with minor injuries.
“Superficial injuries to his face,” Dicus said. “We don’t know how those facial injuries occurred. And then some type of shrapnel in his arm.”
Investigators said they are working to confirm what ignited the fire that destroyed the deputy’s vehicle, but it very well could have been the barrage of bullets, most of which, if not all, missed the deputy. Dicus did not disclose if the deputy returned fire.
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“I visited with the deputy myself,” Dicus said. “The deputy is in good spirits. He’s coherent and talking and surrounded by his family.”
San Bernardino police reported late Tuesday night that the suspect’s vehicle was located at an apartment complex on Date Street. SWAT teams could be scene raiding an apartment. It’s unclear if anyone was taken into custody. At last report, the suspect remains at large.
Authorities have not yet released why the deputy was attempting to stop the BMW or what the suspect may have been running from. It’s unclear how many people were in the suspect’s vehicle.
Fellow officers are just relieved that the deputy survived what for most of them is their worst nightmare.
“It’s very traumatizing, and certainly not something you expect,” Dicus said. “We’ve got to remember, these folks that go out and do this job on our behalf as citizens day in and day out, take those risks. And you never know when you’re going to encounter somebody that is going to impose violence on you. Unfortunately, our department has experienced that a number of times over the last six months.”
San Bernardino police are investigating the shooting portion of the incident because the injured deputy was passing through city limits when attempting the traffic stop.
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The shooter was described as a white male in his 20s wearing a white shirt and red hat. He is believed to be driving a white BMW 3 series.