Gunned-Down S.D. Policeman Remains in Critical Condition

A San Diego police officer remained in critical condition late Sunday night with a gunshot wound to the head that he suffered early Saturday while chasing a group of men in an area of Southeast San Diego known for drug dealing.

Officer Jerry Hartless, 24, of San Diego, was gunned down about 12:20 a.m. Saturday, shortly after he and his partner, Johan Schneider, had stopped to question some men several blocks southeast of Lincoln High School, police said.

When the officers got out of their car, the men split up and ran in opposite directions, causing the officers to separate to chase each group. After losing track of his group and returning to the patrol car, Schneider heard a single gunshot and subsequently found Hartless lying in a street about six blocks from where he began his chase.

Hartless was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center, where he underwent several hours of surgery. As of late Sunday, his condition had remained unchanged for 24 hours, a hospital spokesman said.

Shortly after the shooting, homicide officers booked Stacy Butler, 24, of the 5000 block of Solola Street, into County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder. A police spokeswoman said that a weapon believed connected to the shooting was found at the time of Butler's arrest. Butler, who was being held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned this week.

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