Suspect in Shooting of Deputy Seized After Freeway Chase, Second Gun Fight

From a Times Staff Writer

Mark Raymond Phelps, wanted by police in the shooting of a San Diego County deputy sheriff, was cornered and arrested Sunday afternoon in San Marcos after another flurry of gunfire at a deputy who chased him along two freeways.

Phelps ran into a crowded furniture store, sending confused employees and customers scampering out emergency exits, before giving up without a further fight as deputies swarmed to the scene.

His arrest followed a harrowing chase north on Interstate 15 and then west on California 78. The pursuit began when Sheriff’s Deputy Alfred Mackrille by chance spotted a car and identified the driver, Phelps, 28, as the alleged gunman in the Friday night shooting of Deputy James Bennetts in Vista, sheriff’s spokesman Stephanie Simpson said.

Bennetts, 27, was wounded in the shoulder after a brief chase through a rural Vista neighborhood.


Mackrille gave chase with lights and siren.

Phelps abruptly turned into a Levitz furniture store parking lot in San Marcos, got out of his car and began shooting at Mackrille, who brought his car to a stop.

Mackrille was believed to have returned gunfire, Simpson said, but his shots missed Phelps, who ran inside the store.

After backup help arrived, Phelps surrendered and was taken to the County Jail in Vista for questioning and booking on charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, Simpson said.