LINCOLN BLVD — A 16-year veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department was shot and wounded during a traffic stop early Tuesday morning, and police located and shot the suspected gunman after an hours-long search that involved officers from various law enforcement agencies, officials said.
Police refused to release the name of the officer, who was hospitalized with a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen.
SMPD Sgt. Jay Trisler said detectives had not yet confirmed the identity of the shooter as he was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds and unable to be fingerprinted.
A second suspect was being held on suspicion of attempted murder and driving under the influence, Trisler said.
Officers pulled over a suspected drunk driver near the corner of Pico Boulevard and Bay Street at about 1:40 a.m. when a passenger jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire, striking the officer. Officers returned fire as the suspect fled on foot, Trisler said.
Police were able to arrest the driver, but the gunman eluded police for several hours. Officers set up a perimeter and with the help of K-9 units, SWAT and helicopters located the suspect in an alley near the scene of the shooting around 5:10 a.m. Officers exchanged gunfire, wounding the suspect and sending him to the hospital.
Police did not say if the suspect was armed when he was shot.
Trisler said a handgun was used in the assault against the officer.
Resident Sean Juergens, who lives about 50 feet from the scene of the shooting, said he awoke to the sound of gunshots.
“It gave me goose bumps,” he said. “It was intense.”
Juergens said he heard around 12 to 15 shots initially and then heard another five or six when officers confronted the suspect a second time.
“I’ve lived her for five years and with a police station around the corner, you feel pretty safe,” he added. “I think these guys were trying to get to the freeway and were stopped.”
Another resident, Anna Coriasoria, a psychic who works on the Third Street Promenade, said she was about to go to bed when she heard loud “pops” that she thought were fireworks.
“It was just a spray of bullets,” she said.