Police Shoot at Car Driven by Fresno Car Theft Suspect

September 10, 2018 Updated: September 10, 2018

A Gilroy police officer shot at a man who was coming at him in a car on a field near where several hundred fifth- and sixth-graders were playing football this afternoon, in a case that apparently involves a car reported stolen early this morning from Fresno.

Gilroy police said tonight that the suspect, whom they described as a former police officer, was arrested shortly about 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, after his car lost control when hit by gunfire from the Gilroy officer.

No one was injured in the incident that took place on a sports field near Gilroy High School. Police said the young football players, using the high school’s fields nearby, along with coaches and parents were told to seek shelter until the suspect was arrested.

Neither the identity of the suspect nor the charges against him were released tonight, with police saying the investigation “is still unfolding.”

The officer firing at the suspect’s car has been placed on administrative leave, which police said is standard departmental policy.

Gilroy police had received a routine report this morning of a vehicle theft case in Fresno, which noted the suspect is a former police officer. About 1 p.m. on Sept. 9, the man Gilroy police later arrested called the city’s police communications center, referring to the Fresno car theft and saying the woman who had reported the car stolen had been kidnapped and that the car had, in turn, been stolen from him.

The suspect—using a cell phone he stole from a developmentally disabled adult, police said—called the communications center again a few minutes later, mentioning games happening at Gilroy High as well as his “desire to fight with police officers.” Police found him a short time later on the vacant field near Gilroy High, near where the youngsters were playing Pop Warner football.

It was an officer on foot that shot one round at the suspect’s vehicle. Police said that officer feared he would be injured or killed by the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect surrendered shortly thereafter.

Police emphasized the officer who fired the shot was sure he was shooting away from any bystanders, including the young football players.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will review all related reports on this case when they’re finished, police said.

Anyone with information about this suspect is urged to call Gilroy police detectives at (408) 846-0350, or the We-Tip line at (800) 782-7463.

By Sam Richards