SAN MARINO, Calif. – An off-duty police officer in California accidentally shot himself after another off-duty sheriff’s deputy approached him in his civilian vehicle and asked him to slow down, according to a report from CBS Los Angeles.
Officials say that the bizarre series of events transpired on Sunday in San Marino. An off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was driving his Mercedes along San Gabriel Boulevard when he noticed a Subaru that was traveling too fast on the roadway.
Encounter Between 2 Off-Duty Officers in San Marino Leaves 1 of Them With Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound https://t.co/LrUH239uU0
— KTLA (@KTLA) September 24, 2019
Though he was not on duty and was not in a marked vehicle, the deputy gave chase, pursuing the Subaru in order to give the driver a verbal warning to slow down.
But then things took a turn.
When the deputy finally caught up with the speeding vehicle and motioned for the driver to roll down their window, the Alhambra officer who was behind the wheel of the Subaru believed he was coming under attack. Fearing for his safety, he told investigators that he attempted to pull out his gun.
UPDATE: In bizarre series of events, off-duty Alhambra police officer accidentally shot himself while being pursued by an off-duty L.A. County Sheriff's deputy for speeding in San Marino in what was initially reported as a road rage confrontation: https://t.co/rV7G78Uehv
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) September 23, 2019
But when he did so, instead of using the weapon as a measure of self-defense, the officer’s gun accidentally discharged, striking him in the torso.
San Marino Sgt. Rob Cervantes confirmed the details of the shooting.
“The driver of a blue Subaru was allegedly driving erratically in the area,” he said. “The second driver, in a dark colored Mercedes, pulled alongside the driver of the blue Subaru and attempted to contact the driver.”
He says that because the pursuing deputy didn’t appear to be in law enforcement, the Alhambra officer spooked, thinking he was under attack.
“At some point during the contact, it is believed that the driver [of] the Subaru suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to their torso.”
According to investigators, neither of the officers knew that the other was a member of law enforcement. The Alhambra officer was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital with non life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.
Neither the Alhambra officer nor the LA County sheriff’s deputy were arrested or charged with any crimes.
It’s no surprise that the Alhambra officer had feared for his life, especially with the increased amount of unprovoked attacks that have been taking the lives of officers across the country.
Just over a month ago in Los Angeles, we lost an off-duty officer to a vicious attack by alleged gang members.
A report from CBS 2 News said that Cristian Facundo and Francisco Talamantes III were each charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder as well as a special circumstance allegation of murder after the alleged slaying of off-duty officer Juan Diaz.
Police say Diaz was at a taco stand with his girlfriend and her two brothers when a group of young men approached them and began making threats.
One of the men reportedly claimed his allegiance to a gang, then told Diaz’s group they were in his territory before lifting his shirt to display a handgun.
Police sources told local media outlets that Diaz, his girlfriend, and her brothers tried to leave in their car to avoid confrontation.
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That’s when the gunman is said to have opened fire – just as they were getting into the vehicle.
Diaz was killed and his girlfriend’s brother was injured.
Our subsequent investigation revealed one of those victims to be an off-duty LAPD officer. We are not revealing the identity of our employee until we are able to notify his family members. We will provide more details as they become available.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 27, 2019
A civilian flagged down a member of the Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer just before 1 a.m. the night of the shooting and told officers shots were fired in the area.
That officer called for backup and responded to the area of Avenue 26 and Artesian Street and found two male victims with gunshot wounds.
Diaz died on the scene.
If convicted, the defendants could face the maximum penalty of a life sentence without the possibility of parole, though a decision to look at whether to seek the death penalty will be made at a future date, officials said.