Civilian ride-alongs with police units are a great way to educate the public about the dangers faced by law enforcement officers. And one civilian received an education she isn’t likely to forget when the suspect her officer was pursuing opened fire.
The suspect who was fleeing in a vehicle, shot at the pursuing police officer 13 times. Several bullets struck the police cruiser, and nearly hit the civilian who begged the officer to stop the pursuit.
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The incident happened in Madera, a town northwest of Fresno, California at 4:30am Sunday. The whole incident was captured on daschcam (the video is below).
The suspect, armed with an AR-15 pistol, fired 13 times, and struck the car with three rounds. Two of those rounds passed through the front windshield of the patrol car, and between the passenger and the officer. The civilian was cut by glass, but was not hit by the bullets. One bullet struck the engine of the car, disabling it.
The incident began as a routine traffic stop. The rookie officer turned on his lights to pull over the Mazda SUV, but the SUV didn’t stop. Soon, they were engaged in a pursuit that became anything but routine when the passenger began firing out of his window.
As the man began shooting, the woman riding with the officer can be heard screaming “Oh my God, he’s got a gun!” She begged the officer to stop following him, but he didn’t.
“The vehicle failed to stop and led the officer on pursuit. When the pursuit turned onto Lighthouse Drive from Mainberry, the front passenger pointed a firearm out the window and fired approximately nine rounds at the officer’s vehicle,” a statement read.
“The officer continued to pursue the Mazda and the passenger fired four more rounds at the vehicle as it approached Shannon Avenue.”
“The police vehicle was struck by three rounds, two of them through the windshield narrowly missing the officer and civilian ride-along who was riding in the passenger seat. The officer’s vehicle was disabled during the pursuit causing the officer to terminate.”
“The Mazda was later found abandoned on Krest Street a few blocks from where the pursing officer last saw the vehicle. Officers searched the area and located an AR-15-style pistol and other evidence.”
“The officer was not injured during the incident. The civilian ride-along received minor scratches from broken glass. We are thankful and blessed that both the officer and civilian were not injured. The officer’s decisive actions prevented the civilian ride-along from being seriously injured.”