GILROY (CBS SF) — A Gilroy police officer shot at a former cop who driving an allegedly stolen car towards him on a field near where several young football players were participating in a Pop Warner competition Sunday afternoon, according to authorities.
Gilroy police told KPIX 5 they don’t know why the former police officer came to the city of Gilroy and got into a confrontation where he could have potentially harmed hundreds of people at Gilroy High School Sunday afternoon.
Sunday night, it emerged that the suspect used to work for a law enforcement agency in the area and moved to Fresno in recent years.
The stolen white SUV came to a stop on a practice field at Gilroy High School after a wild series of crimes in Fresno.
Gilroy police received a call to be on the lookout Sunday morning for the car and driver.
“What was important about this was that there was officer safety information attached that indicated that the person involved with that stolen vehicle was looking for weapons or had tried to secure a weapon from a former family member,” said Gilroy Police Captain Joseph Deras. “And this person was a former police officer. so we knew that he had some type of tactical training.”
Gilroy police say the suspect stole the SUV from a woman he knew in Fresno. Sunday afternoon, the suspect himself called Gilroy police on a cell phone he stole from a developmentally disabled young man in the area.
He told them he was on the high school campus, headed toward the stadium with parents watching hundreds of children playing Pop Warner football and that he wanted to fight with police officers
“Luckily some of the parents saw what was coming,” said Deras. “They went and secured those gates which prevented him from driving onto the field. in fact, one parent jumped into this stolen car and tried to detain this man for the police. As the officer arrived, he was on foot, and started to make his way down that service entrance. At the same time, the suspect drove the vehicle at a high rate of speed from that area directly toward the officer.”
That was when Gilroy police say the officer — who has five years of experience — fired at the car, causing the suspect to lose control.
“Certainly officers aren’t above the law, but when you’re dealing with someone who is familiar with our tactics and how we operate and engages us, that almost forces us into such a dangerous situation and puts all these families at risk,” said Deras. “It’s highly unusual and something that we don’t see in our industry or particularly in our community.”
The suspect’s name has not yet been released to the public, but authorities said he is in his early 40s.
He had a previous arrest involving a violent confrontation within last couple of days. Luckily no one was injured in the Gilroy incident and the suspect turned out not to be armed with a firearm.
Police emphasized the officer who fired the shot was sure he was shooting away from any bystanders, including the young football players.
Anyone with information about this suspect is urged to call Gilroy police detectives at (408) 846-0350, or the We-Tip line at (800) 782-7463.
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