SAN DIEGO — Two San Diego police officers were shot, one of them fatally, during a traffic stop late Thursday night in the Southcrest neighborhood, police said.
The names and tenures of the male officers, both part of the department’s gang suppression unit, were not released.
One of the officers suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital despite lifesaving efforts, police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said early Friday outside Scripps Mercy Hospital. The second officer underwent surgery early Friday and was expected to survive.
Police had one suspect in custody. He had been shot and was being treated at a hospital, Zimmerman said.
The two officers had pulled over a vehicle about 11 p.m. somewhere in the area of Acacia Grove Way and 36th Street. Immediately after, they called for emergency cover, Zimmerman said.
Other officers were in the area and arrived shortly after. They found both officers suffering from gunshot wounds to the upper torso. One was rushed in a police vehicle to a hospital, where he died.
“Despite heroic efforts by officers on scene and heroic efforts by doctors to save his life, I’m heartbroken to report they were unable to save him and he is deceased,” Zimmerman said.
She said she went to the home of the officer who died and notified his wife, two children and extended family members who were at the home.
“It is extremely difficult, but something you have to do,” Zimmerman said. “There’s nothing that prepares you to do that.”
The wife of the officer who underwent surgery was beside him at the hospital, the chief said.
Other family members of the two officers had not yet been notified.
There was no update on the condition of the suspect, who was taken into custody about 11:30 p.m. in a ravine near South 38th and Alpha streets. Officers had found a blood trail leading toward him.
Police, including officers from many other agencies, swarmed the area and, with guns drawn, searched for any other possible suspects with the aid of police dogs, a helicopter and SWAT team members. They focused for hours on the Chollas Creek open area just south of Acacia Grove. Residents were asked to stay indoors and streets were cordoned off for several blocks in all directions.
Shortly before sunrise, no other suspects had been found.
Many officers from the other police agencies were released from their posts by 4 a.m. and some streets reopened after that.
The incident comes as police in Southern California and throughout the country are on high alert following the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., earlier this month.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund on Wednesday issued a report revealing that 67 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty this year through July 20 — an 8% increase over the same period last year, when 62 officers were killed.
Other figures on the Officer Down Memorial Page website showed that 19 officers had been slain nationwide in July, through Monday.