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Friday
Jan102014

Talking on Phone While Driving Triggers Chase and Gunfire

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A San Diego traffic stop for talking on the phone turned into a wild high-speed car chase that ended in a fusillade of bullets.

The driver, whose identity has not been released, is now being investigated to determine whether he was also involved in a shooting a few days earlier.

The suspect was pulled over for talking on a cell phone while driving on Thursday, Lt. Kevin Mayer of the San Diego Police Department said. But when the officer began to approach the vehicle, the driver drove off, Mayer said.

Lt. Mike Hastings of the SDPD told ABC News that during the pursuit that involved several police cars, a detective informed officers that the suspect’s vehicle matched a description of another car linked to a shooting a few days earlier.  During the chase, the suspect pulled over to let out a passenger, an unidentified woman who told officers that the suspect was armed, Hastings said.

Police pursued the suspect close to an hour until they were able to put spikes in his path to deflate his tires. After being stopped, the driver raised his gun at police which prompted four officers to fire at the vehicle, police said. The suspect was wounded and is critical condition, the police said.

“We gave the driver every opportunity to yield but he did not,” Mayer said.

Hastings said the fact that the driver’s vehicle matched the car in an earlier shooting played a role in the officers’ decision to fire.

“If you’ve got a guy running around who was involved in a double shooting, at some point you have to do something,” he said. “The officers have to [consider] the totality of the circumstance when making this decision.”

All four officers had at least six years of experience, and one officer has been on the SDPD for 24 years, Hastings said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio