San Diego Police rookie officer who shot suspected gunman in City Heights

San Diego Police on Tuesday identified the rookie officer who shot and injured a motorcyclist who allegedly opened fire on him last week during a traffic stop in City Heights.

Officer Justin Hibbard, who joined the department in January and was still undergoing field training, shot dead Jesus Medina Morales, 35, on September 28, according to the police department.

Investigators said Hibbard and his training officer were chasing Morales when the fleeing man shot Hibbard, the officer closest to him, according to San Diego Police Lt. Jud Campbell. Hibbard was not hit by Morales’ shot and retaliated, hitting Morales twice.

Paramedics took Morales to hospital to treat his injuries, and prison records showed he was transferred to San Diego Central Prison on Friday, where he was held on suspicion of several crimes, including attempted murder, assaulting a police officer and being a criminal in possession of a gun. He remained in jail on Tuesday in lieu of a $ 3 million bond.

The shooting took place around 5:40 p.m. on September 28 on Rex Avenue and Shiloh Road, after patrol officers attempted to stop a motorcyclist for having an obstructed license plate on nearby Lea Street. near Colina Del Sol Park, Campbell said in a statement. Release.

The biker did not stop and continued for several blocks before the motorcycle tipped onto its side and crashed into Wightman Avenue near Ogden Street, the lieutenant said. The motorcyclist then fled, with the police in pursuit, before opening fire on Hibbard.

The shooting was the second that day by San Diego County law enforcement officers, following an incident in Vista in which Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Williams shot Omar Rojas, 20 years old, who was allegedly armed with a knife and a pellet gun.

San Diego Police have been involved in three more shootings this year, most recently on July 23 when officers shot dead a man with a gun. On April 13, SWAT snipers from San Diego shot dead Christopher Templo Marquez, believing that Marquez, who was wanted for previous shootings, was about to shoot his girlfriend after a shootout with police and a dead end of almost 11 hours.

On February 25, a San Diego police officer shot and wounded a 69-year-old homeless man near the Gaslamp neighborhood as the man pulled a kitchen knife from his back pocket. As he dropped her, the officer opened fire.

So far this year, police or lawmakers from across the region have opened fire on 11 people, killing six. San Diego County police, deputies or federal agents shot dead 17 people in 2020 and nine in 2019.


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