San Diego police officer killed during probation check www.privateofficer.com
SKYLINE, Calif. Oct 29 2010 — A veteran San Diego police officer who was shot while doing a probation check at a Skyline-area apartment died Thursday, and after a nearly eight-hour standoff, police found the bodies of two other people inside the unit.
The officer was identified as Christopher Wilson. Wilson was a 17-year veteran who was well-known and respected by his peers.
Shortly before 7 a.m., the standoff at the Canyon View Apartments at 479 S. Meadowbrook Drive ended with the discovery of a man and woman dead inside the second-floor unit, according to San Diego police. The pair were found dead in a back bedroom with several guns in the room. It was not immediately clear whether the man and woman died from self-inflicted wounds or gunfire that was exchanged earlier in the standoff.
San Diego police accompanied U.S. Marshals to the address at about 11 p.m. Wednesday to do a probation compliance check on a man who lives there, SDPD Acting Assistant Chief Jim Collins told reporters.
They knocked and someone inside opened the front door, then slammed it shut in the officers’ faces, prompting law enforcement to kick in the door, he said, adding that after kicking in the door, law enforcement was able to take one man into custody.
Gunfire ensued after officers secured the prisoner and then apparently went back to kick-in an interior door in the apartment, leading to someone behind it to fire several rounds. An officer and a police dog named Monty were shot. Later, a man and woman emerged but the standoff continued because authorities believed up to two armed suspects remained inside, Collins said.
A neighbor described seeing the mortally wounded officer being rushed out of the residence, en route to the hospital, following the barrage of shots.
“They carried him down the stairs, and there was just a trail of blood behind him,” Ryan Davis told 10News.
Wilson died at Scripps Mercy Hospital at about 3 a.m., and the German shepherd, Monty, underwent surgery for a wound to his snout and was expected to recover.
During the standoff, authorities used chemical agents and flash bangs in an attempt to clear the apartment. That prompted the man and woman to exit the apartment, Collins said.
One woman is being held as a witness and two men are in custody, one of them is the parolee, authorities told 10News.
More than 50 residents of the apartment complex were evacuated, and the Red Cross was on scene providing assistance. Some of the residents will be allowed to return to their apartments, but the building where the shootings occurred was blocked as police continued their investigation.
Davis said the residents of the apartment did not seem to be troublemakers.
“I don’t really know much of anything about them,” the neighbor said. “I mean, they were just normal people like the rest of us. And this whole thing kind of just happened by, you know, by surprise.”
During a midday briefing at downtown SDPD headquarters, a visibly shaken Mayor Jerry Sanders called the slaying of Wilson “an extraordinary tragedy.”
“This horrible event is a reminder that our police officers put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform,” the mayor said, his voice choked with emotion.
Police Chief William Lansdowne said Wilson “represents what’s best about the police department.”
“It is Officer Wilson that we dedicate today to,” Lansdowne said. “It is Officer Wilson that we strive to be. It is Officer Wilson that we all look towards and say, ‘He was America’s finest.’”
Wilson is the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in San Diego County in nearly four years.
In December 2006, Oceanside police Officer Dan Bessant was killed by a sniper while assisting another officer on a traffic stop.
North County gang member Meki Gaono was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 61 years, for shooting Bessant. Gaono was just 17 at the time. Another gang member, Penifoti Taeotui, was with Gaono. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, though he did not fire the fatal shot.
A third acquaintance with Gaono and Taeotui that day was also arrested but charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Wilson leaves behind two teenage children, a son and daughter, from a previous marriage.
The San Diego Police Officers Association has set up a trust fund to benefit Wilson’s family. Donors are asked to make checks payable to the SDPOA Charity Fund — with Officer Wilson written on the memo line — and send them to the association’s offices at 8388 Vickers St., San Diego, 92111.