LOS ANGELES (BCN) – A man suspected of intentionally striking a Fremont police officer with a stolen van on Monday was arrested early Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, a police sergeant said.

Alexander Diaz, 36, who lives in the Los Angeles area, is suspected of ramming Officer Patrick Brower, 43, a 10-year veteran of the police force.

Diaz, a parolee, was arrested at about 5 a.m. Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer and vehicle theft, police Sgt. Jeff Swadener said.

Monday’s incident began at about 10:35 a.m. when police received a report that a delivery van had been stolen from Lippert Avenue when the driver briefly left it unattended to make a delivery.

At 10:48 a.m., Brower spotted the stolen vehicle leaving the Warm Springs Plaza Shopping Center and turning onto Warm Springs Boulevard. Brower had stopped in the center divider, and the suspect, believed to be Diaz, accelerated and struck him with the van, police said.

Brower was pinned under the motorcycle and was dragged by the van across two traffic lanes before it struck a metal streetlight.

Diaz allegedly got out of the van and ran into a nearby industrial complex.

Police were unable to find him that day, but a subsequent investigation “led us to believe that he’d be headed back to the area he was familiar with,” Swadener said.

On Tuesday night, police received a tip that Diaz may have headed to a local bus terminal to travel back to Southern California.

Investigators were able to track down a cab driver who had picked up Diaz. The driver said he had dropped him off at a bus terminal in San Jose.

Fremont police sent detectives to the Los Angeles area and were assisted by Los Angeles police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the state Department of Justice and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

At about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, investigators thought they saw Diaz enter a house in the Los Angeles area that was under surveillance, but could not confirm it was him.

At about 5 a.m., he exited the house, and investigators were able to identify him and take him into custody, Swadener said.

The Fremont Police Department’s lead detectives were headed down to Los Angeles Wednesday morning to interrogate Diaz, who is expected to be transported back to Alameda County later this week, Swadener said.

At about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Fremont police detained a man on a BART train in Hayward in connection with the investigation. The man was questioned and later released, police said.

Investigators were not specifying what the connection was between that person and the attack on the officer, since the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Brower is recovering at a the hospital after undergoing extensive reconstructive surgery to his leg and foot. The officer, who is married with three sons, is expected to be released from the hospital later this week.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)


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