In the third police-related shooting in three days, a 27-year-old man was shot and wounded late Friday by a San Diego police officer who had come to the aid of a fellow detective caught in a gang fight.
Nolan Edward Reese, reported to be one of the gang members, was shot once in the right armpit after he fired a single shot at the unidentified officer near the intersection of 41st Street and University Avenue in East San Diego, said Sgt. Chuck Peck.
Reese initially escaped the scene following the 11 p.m. shooting by scaling a 6-foot wall but was arrested two hours later after seeking treatment at UC San Diego Medical Center. He was listed in good condition and was under police guard late Saturday, police said.
The shooting occurred when a robbery detective sergeant on surveilance at an East San Diego convenience store found himself in the middle of a gang fight, police said.
The policeman was sitting in his car outside a 7-Eleven store at the intersection of Central and University avenues when he observed a confrontation begin between what he took to be rival gang members, Sgt. Peck said.
“One group armed with clubs and pipes approached another group at the intersection of 41st Street and University,” he said. “And one member of the second gang took out a handgun and just started shooting.”
The first group then scattered and one man sought cover beside the detective’s unmarked police car, authorities said. “The detective sergeant called for a backup when the man with the weapon began firing in his direction.”
A second detective in the area answered the call and arrived on the scene. He faced the suspect and identified himself as an officer, police said. When the man opened fire, the detective returned the shots, hitting the man in the right armpit.
Authorities said they did not know the man was injured until he was taken into custody at the hospital.
The shooting was the third in three days involving San Diego police officers. On Thursday, a San Diego patrol officer shot and killed an unarmed man inside a South San Diego apartment after he saw a movement he interpreted as a threat.
The officers went to the Palm Avenue apartment of Richard W. Cross Jr. after Cross’s fiance called to report a domestic dispute. Police say the woman reported a gun in the residence, but no gun was found there.
On Wednesday afternoon, a police narcotics agent serving a search warrant in East San Diego shot a man who was reportedly reaching for a handgun. That killing, the 11th this year, gave the city it highest annual total in six years.
In all, San Diego police have shot 27 suspects in 1990, a dozen of them fatally.
Police said Saturday that they couldn’t explain the most recent rash of shootings.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” said Lt. Bruce Pfefferkorn. “Those things just happen. I don’t think anybody’s sure why we go for so long without any shootings and then have three in one week. I’m no oddsmaker and I don’t know what the mathematical probability of having so many shootings at once. I’d say it’s just coincidence.”
Police, citing a new policy of delaying identification of officers involved in shootings, have not released the names of those involved in the recent shootings--fearing that witnesses may learn of an officer’s history and subsequently change their statements.
Last week, Police Chief Bob Burgreen said that an internal police study on lethal force--under way for the past three months--may include recommendations calling for more frequent training with batons, nunchakus, police dogs and other defensive tactics.
In May, police shot a man wielding a cement trowel along busy Interstate 5 in La Jolla. In June, two men holding baseball bats were shot in two different incidents.
In September, a man who police said threatened them with a garden stake was fatally shot through the chest. Two days later, police shot and killed a man they said grabbed a pair of nunchakus from an officer.
All of last week’s shootings, as is normal practice, will be reviewed by the department’s homicide division, the district attorney’s office, police internal affairs and a shooting review board of police commanders, who will study possible violations of law and department policy.