Stockton police fired at during traffic stop
STOCKTON — Police Chief Eric Jones praised three unidentified members of his force for showing poise under pressure after they refrained from returning fire after being shot at from a vehicle late Monday night during what initially seemed to be a routine traffic stop.
“I’m very proud of the officers,” Jones said Tuesday morning.
The first gunshots missed two officers but struck the passenger-side door and windshield of their police car and a stop sign outside Dameron Hospital at the intersection where the shooting incident began.
Minutes after the first gunfire, more shots were fired from the suspect vehicle, this time missing a police sergeant who had picked up the pursuit heading south on Center Street.
Jones said at least two people were in the suspect vehicle and are being sought for three homicide attempts. The weapon, believed to be a handgun, was fired by someone in the passenger seat.
Police are following several leads in the case, said Jones, who shared little information on the suspects or the vehicle they were in.
“Gun violence is our top priority,” Jones said. “And then when we have gun violence on the very men and women that are sworn to protect and serve this community, that really puts an extra emphasis on the need to reduce gun violence.”
According to police, the incident began when two officers turned on the blue and red overhead lights in their car and began a pursuit after a vehicle ran a stop sign at Lincoln and Acacia streets in central Stockton.
A passenger in the vehicle “immediately” began firing his weapon at police, missing the officers, Jones said. The two officers did not return fire.
“We’re very, very fortunate that no community members were injured because those errant rounds could have gone anywhere and could have struck anyone,” Jones said.
A sergeant nearby in another police vehicle subsequently picked up the pursuit, but he, too, was fired upon by the suspects, by now heading south on Center Street. The sergeant also did not return fire and the suspects sped off and were last seen heading south on Interstate 5.