A police surveillance team officer shot and wounded one of four suspected teen-age auto thieves who struck him with a stolen car in Chatsworth, authorities said today.
Officer Charles Bennett, 32, was not injured when he was struck lightly by the car as one of the youths tried to flee about 11:20 p.m. Monday after being stopped by officers in the 10600 block of Variel Avenue, Lt. William Hall said.
Bennett was conducting a surveillance of four possible armed robbery suspects. The four were in a stolen car and officers watched them steal another car, a Toyota, in the 19000 block of Nashville Street about 11:10 p.m., Hall said.
The two cars were stopped by officers but the driver of the Toyota, Eric Galuppo, 18, of Chatsworth, who was alone in the car, tried to speed away and struck Bennett, 32, as he stood next to the fender of the stolen car, Hall said. Bennett fired four shots, wounding Galuppo in the left arm. Galuppo was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and was being treated at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center jail ward. A 16-year-old youth and a 17-year-old youth, both from Duarte, and Rennald Munoz, 19, of Chatsworth, were all booked on suspicion of auto theft.