Officer Wounded; Gunman Killed in Drugstore Shootout
San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix
January 22, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO – A robbery suspect was killed and a California Highway Patrol officer was wounded in a shootout early Wednesday at a 24-hour drugstore in North Oakland, police said.
The incident began shortly before 1:30 a.m. when several masked robbers burst into the Walgreens pharmacy at 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue and herded employees into a back room at gunpoint, said acting Oakland Deputy Police Chief Eric Breshears. No customers were there.
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Oakland police soon joined the officers in surrounding the store. As the CHP officers got out of their car, the same robber who had fired shots inside emerged from the back and fired several rounds, hitting one of the officers, Breshears said.
“Both of the CHP officers returned fire. The suspect turned and ran toward the front of the building, still wearing a mask,” where Oakland police shot and killed him, Breshears said.
Several people then bolted from the store and toward police. One of them is considered a suspect and was held for questioning, Deputy Chief Jeff Israel said.
Other robbers may have gotten away and are being sought, police said.
The wounded CHP officer, who has been with the agency for about a year, was in critical but stable condition at Highland Hospital in Oakland with several wounds. Doctors expect him to survive. Neither his name nor the name of the dead suspect has been released.
One of the shots hit the officer in the chest, but he was wearing a bullet-resistant vest that may have saved his life, authorities said.
The officer may also have been shot accidentally by his partner, according to sources close to the investigation.
“As far as friendly fire is concerned, we cannot confirm that at this time,” CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.
At about 5 a.m., after determining that no other suspects were still inside, the police SWAT team went in and found three employees who had been forced into the back room. None of the three was injured.
The drugstore was cordoned off with crime-scene tape for most of the day. The wounded officer’s CHP cruiser sat near the back entrance of the store, its driver-side window shattered.