San Bernardino, CA – A gang member who ambushed a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy and left his patrol SUV in flames shot two more officers before dying in a barrage of bullets Wednesday afternoon.
“You heard like five, six shots and then the cops shoot back. That’s another five, six shots,” witness John Matias told KABC. “So, you hear 12, 15 rounds go at a time. Just nothing but gunshots. It was like a war zone.”
The initial attack occurred in the area of Olive Street and Bobbett Drive shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, KABC reported.
A home security camera showed the San Bernardino sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car following after the suspect vehicle as it rounded a corner.
Just then, a barrage of over two dozen gunshots rang out.
The deputy, who was wounded in the attack, put out a “shots fired” call and additional deputies raced to the scene to help him, KABC reported.
When they arrived, they discovered the deputy’s patrol SUV had been set on fire, resulting in severe damage to the windshield and hood.
The suspect, later identified as 34-year-old gang member Ervin Olikong, managed to escape in a white BMW prior to their arrival, KABC reported.
Deputies found the wounded deputy lying on the ground and quickly administered first aid, to include the use of a tourniquet, the Los Angeles Times reported.
San Bernardino Police Sgt. Equino Thomas answers questions from the media about yesterday’s SBCS deputy shooting, during a press conference at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton on Wednesday, August 18, 2021. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) pic.twitter.com/T8YExGEAwV
— TERRY PIERSON (@Fotogodterry) August 18, 2021
He was transported to Community Hospital of San Bernardino with shrapnel wounds to his arm and superficial wounds to his face, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said during a press conference later that night, according to KABC.
Sheriff Dicus said the deputy was conscious and alert.
He is a 27-year-old, four-year veteran of the department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The San Bernardino Police Department (SBPD) spearheaded the ongoing investigation into the ambush attack and soon identified Olikong as the suspected shooter, according to KABC.
Officers began surveilling the gang member on Wednesday and moved in to arrest him several hours later.
The suspect was in the passenger side of a vehicle near Victoria Avenue and Rosemary Drive when police closed in on him at about 3:38 p.m., KABC reported.
A witness recorded the scene as Olikong got out of the car and opened fire on the officers, wounding two of them.
Police returned fire, killing the shooter, KABC reported.
The driver of the vehicle Olikong was riding in was taken into custody.
— AlexVnews (@alexvnews) August 18, 2021
Please avoid the area between Baseline Street & Victoria Avenue due to police activity and an ongoing investigation. pic.twitter.com/6j26AsG04q
— San Bernardino PD (@SanBernardinoPD) August 18, 2021
The wounded San Bernardino police officers were rushed to a local hospital, where one was taken into emergency surgery, KABC reported.
They have both since been listed in stable condition.
The wounded San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy is expected to make a “full recovery,” police said.
San Bernardino Police Chief Eric McBride said Olikong was a dangerous gang member with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for robbery and assault, KABC reported.
The suspect in the ambush/shooting of a San Bernadino deputy has been identified as Ervin Olikong, a known gang member in the area. Police say he had an extensive criminal history. Olikong was shot and killed in Highland today after a police shoot out. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/uGZtXDlvqY
— Jessica Oh (@JessicaOhTV) August 19, 2021
He had a $200,000 warrant for assault with a deadly weapon at the time of the ambush, Chief McBride noted.
“We don’t know why he engaged that deputy in the ambush yesterday, but obviously he has a very violent criminal history and background,” the chief told KABC.
Chief McBride said Olikong had “been on the run since at least 2019,” KTLA reported.