TULARE COUNTY, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A pursuit involving multiple law enforcement agencies led officers in a chase across Tulare County, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Friday.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s office received reports of a person who had approached a group with a knife in an area national park, Sheriff Boudreaux said. An argument ensued and investigators say the suspect used the knife to slash the tires of the group’s vehicle, before brandishing a pistol. It was at that point that the group fled the scene and the suspect left the area, investigators say.
Sometime later, deputies received a call of an armed robbery at a Chevron in the Three Rivers area. Investigators say the suspect fired shots and then left the scene.
A CalFire official then attempted to make a traffic stop of the suspect’s vehicle, officers say. The suspect stopped the vehicle, fired shots at the officer, and then sped off again.
A pursuit involving California Highway Patrol officers, Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies, Woodlake police officers, and CalFire officers continued down Highway 198 near the Exeter area. A deputy attempted to deploy spike strips but was fired at from the suspect’s moving vehicle, Sheriff Boudreaux went on to say.
Investigators say the suspect’s vehicle turned into a small orchard where it was promptly contained by officers. As the suspect got out of the vehicle and started running away, investigators say the suspect was able to sneak up behind a CHP officer.
A fight between the suspect and the CHP officer ensued, Boudreaux said. Deputies who were attempting to back up the CHP officer received gunfire from the suspect. During the gun battle, the CHP officer was hit in the shoulder. The 20-year veteran of the CHP sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound and she is expected to be okay.
The suspect was struck by gunfire during the battle and has been taken to an area hospital. The suspect’s condition is unknown and is not being identified by investigators at this time. Officers say there were two dogs inside the vehicle with the suspect, and investigators say they are fine.
Sheriff Boudreaux says the investigation is fluid and ongoing. Stay with us for updates.