PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - An 18-year-old man was taken into custody Thursday for allegedly backing a car into three officers, triggering a shooting that wounded a bystander in Palm Springs.
The suspect surrendered to authorities at 11:19 a.m. in the 32700 block of Avenida El Pueblo Trail in Cathedral City. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries he may have received during the shooting.
"Essentially, he couldn't take the pain anymore of the gunshot wound and decided it was better to give himself up so he can get some medical attention. He came out of the house, he surrendered, and we took him into custody," said Capt. Chuck Robinson of the Cathedral City Police Department.
It all began about 10:50 p.m. Wednesday, an officer patrolling the 600 block of South Camino Real in Palm Springs saw an unoccupied vehicle he believed may have been used an attempted residential burglary in the city on Tuesday. Police watched the car until two men came to it about 11:30 p.m. Two officers and a sergeant tried to pull the driver out of the car, while other officers detained the passenger, says Palm Springs Police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff.
The sergeant used a Taser on the driver, and the driver put the vehicle in reverse, running over the two officers and the sergeant, Kovaleff said. "An officer-involved shooting occurred simultaneously to the suspect speeding off in the vehicle with the lights off," Kovaleff said.
A 49-year-old man walking nearby was struck in a leg by a bullet fragment, treated at a hospital and released, Kovaleff said. The three injured officers were treated at a hospital for what Kovaleff called moderate injuries and released. One officer was injured on a hand, arm, his chest and legs, the other was hurt on a leg and foot. The sergeant had injuries on his hands, arms, knees and face. All three were put on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation, Kovaleff said.
Officers from the California Highway Patrol, local police departments and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department began helping Palm Springs police look for the suspect. The vehicle he was driving was found in a dirt lot near the 32700 block of Pueblo Trail in Cathedral City shortly after noon, Kovaleff said.