Pursuit lasting about 100 miles ends in fatal police shootout

A suspect led officers on a pursuit that ended in a deadly shootout just before the Mexico border

By Alex Riggins
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The pursuit suspect fatally shot by law enforcement officers Sunday morning on a Chula Vista freeway was identified Monday as Christopher Ulmer, a 30-year-old resident of Whittier in Los Angeles County.

The fatal shooting, which occurred around 1:15 a.m. on Interstate 805, involved officers from both the California Highway Patrol and San Diego Police Department, investigators revealed Monday.

The officers shot and killed Ulmer following a pursuit that began in Orange County, according to San Diego County sheriff's homicide Lt. Thomas Seiver.

The sheriff's homicide unit is investigating the shooting "due to the multiple jurisdictions involved" in the incident, which began on surface streets in Santa Ana and ended on the freeway just a few miles north of the Mexican border.

A Highway Patrol spokesman said Sunday morning that at least one CHP officer had fired at Ulmer. Later, it was revealed that San Diego police were also involved, though the exact nature of their involvement was not immediately clear.

Seiver confirmed in an email Monday night that both CHP and San Diego police officers "were present and fired."

Ulmer died Sunday at a hospital. In a news release, Seiver said Ulmer's cause of death was "multiple gunshot wounds."

But details of the shooting and what led up to it remained scarce Monday night. The Sheriff's Department did not release the names of the officers involved.

[READ: Review of police driving maneuver used to end police pursuits]

The pursuit began shortly before midnight Saturday after police in Santa Ana tried to pull over a car for a traffic violation on city streets, according to ABC 7. The driver fled, heading south on Interstate 5.

The chase ended on south I-805 north of East Orange Avenue and Olympic Parkway. Video from OnSceneTV shows a silver sedan stopped in a lane, with CHP and San Diego police vehicles stopped behind the car. Officers, some with their guns drawn, stand behind their vehicle doors.

According to scanner traffic, the door of the silver sedan opened seconds before shots rang out. Authorities did not say why the officers shot Ulmer.

Video from OnSceneTV shows Ulmer — apparently unresponsive — lying face down in a freeway lane. The video shows a group of officers, some with their handguns drawn, and a police dog approach him.

The video shows the police dog bite down on Ulmer or his clothing before the officers turn him over and start first aid.

A stretch of south I-805 remained closed most of the day Sunday. All lanes were reopened Sunday at 4 p.m.

©2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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