SAN DIEGO — A police officer died Thursday after a shootout that began Wednesday evening. A man and woman were also found dead in an apartment police were raiding with an arrest warrant.
Officer Christopher A. Wilson, 50, served on the San Diego Police Department for 17 years. He died at Sripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest early Thursday morning. His son, daughter, ex-wife, and 80 officers had held vigil at the hospital.
Wilson was a Navy lieutenant prior to joining the Police Department in 1993. He served on the SWAT team and was a training officer. He spent his career in the Southeastern Division.
“He was popular, funny, extremely bright and a consummate professional,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, during a news conference. “It was routine for other officers to pay him the compliment by calling him ‘good cover.’ In other words, you always knew Officer Wilson had your back.”
The shootout began Wednesday evening around 10:45 when officers approached Canyon View Apartments on South Meadowbrook Drive to check on a man on probation, as well as serve an arrest warrant on another man for assault with a deadly weapon.
Someone opened the door then slammed it on the officers. The officers kicked down the door and took the probationer into custody and the man wanted for assault barricaded himself in the bedroom.
At least six San Diego police officers entered the apartment and the gunman shot at them, hitting Wilson. Officers returned fire.
Ryan Davis, a resident of another apartment, told the San Diego Union-Tribune he heard six to 12 shots fired from what sounded like handguns and a shotgun.
Wilson was carried down the stairs while the rookie he was training, as well as an injured canine officer and his handler were trapped in a bedroom in the apartment.
A man who only identified himself as Luis watched the siege from a grocery store parking lot across the street wearing a Red Cross blanket and bright blue socks. He told The Associated Press he was in a downstairs apartment with his wife and two small children when he heard gunfire.
“I just hear like a big boom, then they exchanged some words, then I heard ‘Officer down! Officer down!,'” he said.
Luis said he rushed to his window and saw police carrying another officer with a blood-covered neck and face down the stairs.
The incident ended around 6:45 a.m. Thursday. Numerous attempts to contact the people inside led the SWAT team to use explosives to blow a hole through the wall of an adjoining apartment unit in order to use a camera to see inside.
The bodies of a man and woman were discovered inside. It has not been determined if they died in the shootout or if the wounds were self-inflicted. Firearms were found near both of them.
The last time a county law enforcement died was July 23, 2009 when Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas Jr., 30, was killed on patrol near Shockey Truck Trail in Campo. A San Diego city police officer hasn’t been killed in the line of duty since 1991, when Ronald W. Davis, 24, died while dealing with a family disturbance call.