A carjacking and robbery spree Monday that left a San Diego police officer with a bullet wound to the head has police on the lookout for a man who looks like one of their own.
A man wearing dark clothing with "POLICE" on the front is a suspect in two robberies and a carjacking Monday that authorities believe are linked due to similar actions and suspect descriptions. The clothing, as described by the alleged victims, appears to be similar to police gear sometimes worn by San Diego police detectives, San Diego Police Department spokeswoman Andra Brown told Patch.
"There is nothing to indicate that it is an actual officer," Brown said.
Without actually seeing the gear, however, Brown said she cannot tell if it is clothing that was stolen from actual officers or an imitation.
Monday's crime series began around 9 a.m. with a man allegedly robbed of his money and wallet at gunpoint as he was removing items from the trunk of his car in a parking lot on the 8900 block of Rio San Diego Dr. in Mission Valley East. The suspect is described as an unshaven 35- to 40-year-old Hispanic man wearing black clothing with "POLICE" on the chest, armed with silver semi-automatic handgun. He fled in a full-sized white vehicle, police said.
Around 12:30 p.m., a suspect with the same description shot 27-year veteran San Diego police Officer Leslie Stewart in the head after the officer used an ATM at 1600 S. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido, according to an SDPD news release. Stewart, who is assigned to the Southern Division patrol, was off-duty at the time and is in stable condition at a local trauma center with the non-life threatening injury.
About an hour after the officer was shot, a man who appears to be the same suspect—this time accompanied by a woman in black clothing with "POLICE" on the chest—carjacked a man in a parking lot at 6300 College Grove Way. The male suspect pointed a gun at the alleged victim and demanded his black 2006 Suzuki hatchback, according to the news release.
Callers reported that a white Ford Crown Victoria had been set on fire in this same parking lot. Just after 7 p.m. Monday, the stolen hatchback was found in Chula Vista after being set on fire at 100 Jefferson.
The San Diego Police Department and Escondido Police Department are investigating the crime series and ask anyone with information to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
A timeline overview:
- 9 a.m.: A suspect in a jacket with POLICE on the chest pointed a handgun at a man in a parking lot on the 8900 block of Rio San Diego Dr. and took the alleged victim's money and wallet. The suspect fled in a white full-sized vehicle.
- 12:30 p.m.: Off-duty San Diego police Officer Leslie Stewart—a 27-year veteran—was shot in the head when he was robbed at gunpoint after using an ATM at 1600 S. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido. The suspect fled in a full-sized white sedan.
- 1:30 p.m.: A man and woman in black clothing with "POLICE" on the chest carjack a man at 6300 College Park Way.