2 Are Possible Suspects in Shooting of Policeman
A college football player and a university student are under investigation as possible suspects in the Aug. 4 shooting of an off-duty Huntington Beach policeman and a string of San Diego County robberies this summer.
Jonathan Arrington and Hubert Phillips were charged Thursday with armed robbery stemming from three holdups Tuesday morning--of a doughnut shop and a motel in Escondido and the robbery of a cabbie in Vista.
Phillips, a star senior fullback with the Southwest High Raiders in San Diego two years ago, was redshirted the next year with the University of New Mexico football team. Arrington attended Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., last year.
The suspects, both 19, pleaded innocent Thursday to the armed robbery charges. They are being held on $100,000 bail each.
Police said they were arrested after a 50-mile freeway chase that ended when their car crashed.
A third young man, 17-year-old Cahill Muhammad, was found dead in the back seat of the car, the victim of what police Thursday called a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Authorities are trying to determine if the men were involved in a string of up to 15 robberies in the last six weeks, including the one at a motel on Kearny Mesa Road in which Huntington Beach policeman Robert Barr was shot.
“We are looking at them in connection with that . . . and other robberies,” San Diego Police Lt. Paul Ybarrando said. “But we haven’t yet established if they are responsible.”
Barr was hospitalized for some time after he was wounded--in the arm and leg--at the motel. Having been told the motel was full, he was leaving when three masked gunmen charged into the lobby and ordered several guests to the floor, demanding everyone’s wallets.
Barr told investigators that, fearing the intruders would kill him if they discovered his police badge in the wallet, he tossed it beneath a lobby chair. When the gunmen ordered him to remove the contents of his pocket, he drew a gun on robbers and fired. He missed and was shot at close range.
On Thursday, Huntington Beach officers said Barr is continuing to recuperate at home and is walking on crutches. It is not known when he will return to work.