A San Diego man suspected of selling methamphetamine was seriously injured Monday afternoon after attempting to flee federal drug agents when an undercover purchase in Pacific Beach went awry.
Steven Anderson, 32, of San Diego was listed in serious condition Monday night at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, but it was unclear whether his head wound resulted from one of four shots fired at him by federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents or from being tackled as he tried to escape, authorities said.
No agents or passers-by were hurt in the 3:15 p.m. incident along the busy 1100 block of Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach.
An undercover agent had arranged to purchase four pounds of methamphetamine for $30,000 in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant along Garnet Avenue, said Charles Hill, DEA special-agent-in-charge in San Diego.
According to Hill, other agents positioned nearby, who were listening to the conversation transmitted by a hidden microphone worn by the undercover officer, heard the suspect say that, if any problems developed, he would shoot the agent.
When the agent flashed the arrest signal to his colleagues, the suspect tried to flee in a Volkswagen sedan, DEA agent Jim Hicks said.
Hicks said other agents gave chase immediately, one using his car to smash into the suspect’s car and force it into the parking lot of another fast-food restaurant in the same block.
“At that point, another agent running up alongside the car saw a gun in the (hand of the) suspect so fired twice but missed as far as we know,” Hicks said. The suspect jumped out of his car and ran through the restaurant parking lot as a second agent fired two shots before tackling the suspect, Hicks said.
“We don’t know whether the suspect was (wounded) by broken glass from the car crash or from being tackled” or from being shot, Hicks said.
Agents later went to the suspect’s apartment in San Diego, where they found a dismantled methamphetamine lab, Hicks said.
As a result of evidence at the apartment, agents were fanning out to other locations late Monday, and Hicks expected that there would be more arrests.
“It’s still unfolding,” Hicks said Monday night.