Calif. PD uses drone to help arrest teen in shooting

The drone operator helped guide officers on the street to the suspect and the shooting victim

By Karen Kucher
The San Diego Union-Tribune

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Police on Tuesday used a drone to aid in the arrest of a 17-year-old boy suspected of shooting a good Samaritan in the head in the aftermath of a hit-and-run crash, Chula Vista police said.

The victim, a 25-year-old man, was expected to survive the gunshot wound, according to police. Investigators say the teen had been in the hit-and-run suspect's car, and shot the man because he was trying to get that car's license plate number after the collision.

It happened around 4 p.m. Tuesday at Fifth Avenue and Palomar Street, police Lt. Miriam Foxx said. She said several 911 callers reported the shooting, including the man who was shot.

The victim told police he witnessed the non-injury hit-and-run collision and was following the suspect's car when he was shot by a passenger in the car, Foxx said.

Officers who were livestreaming incoming 911 calls deployed a drone to the area. Using the camera on the drone, an officer was able to watch the suspect, carrying a handgun, exit a car and walk from the area, Foxx said in a news release.

The drone operator helped guide officers on the street to the shooting victim and to the suspect, who was arrested, Foxx said. The arresting officers found a loaded handgun in the teen's pocket, and the boy was booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of felony assault charges.

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Medics transported the shooting victim to a hospital, according to Foxx. The person who was hit by the vehicle was uninjured, while the driver involved in the collision was issued a citation.

In a statement, Foxx said the department's Drone as First Responder program and Live911 program "highlight the teamwork" of dispatchers, drone operators and patrol officers who are taking advantage of technology to "save valuable time responding to emergency calls like this."

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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