El Cajon, CA – An unmarked El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) vehicle filled with firearms and SWAT gear was carjacked at a gas station Wednesday night, leading to a wild high-speed pursuit through multiple jurisdictions, according to police.
The incident began at a 7-Eleven store located near Mission Gorge Road and Magnolia Avenue in Santee at approximately 9 p.m., KSWB reported.
Investigators said an off-duty ECPD officer was just getting ready to leave the gas station when a suspect carjacked his unmarked police vehicle, which contained a handgun, a rifle, and tactical gear, according to KGTV.
The suspect fled the scene and police searched for the stolen vehicle for several hours before receiving a call of a suspicious person at a Jack in the Box restaurant located near Highway 8 Business and Lake Jennings Park Road in El Cajon, KSWB reported.
According to a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDCSD) sergeant, the caller said the driver of the vehicle was “walking around with a gun in his waistband” and that all of the doors on the vehicle were standing open, KSWB reported.
Officers responded to the scene and were able to positively identify the stolen truck by its license plate just as the suspect was pulling away from the restaurant.
They tried to pull him over, but he refused to stop and sped off westbound on Interstate 8, KSWB reported.
The suspect continued onto state Route 94 and state Route 125 southbound on the SR-125 toll road, then proceeded to barrel through the median and began heading the wrong way down the road at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, the sergeant told the news outlet.
“If that was not a police car with weapons inside, I would have canceled that pursuit,” the sergeant told KSWB. “He was going too fast.”
Deputies in a helicopter pursued the carjacker from the air as he took the Birch Street exit and headed into Chula Vista, according to police.
By that time, he had already traveled through La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Spring Valley, KGTV reported.
The suspect sped off into the Otay Ranch Town Center and drove around the mall before he ultimately lost control of the stolen truck and slammed into a fire hydrant, according to police.
The busted hydrant shot water 50 feet into the air as the suspect bailed out of the wreaked vehicle and took off on foot towards a freeway embankment, KGTV reported.
Deputies quickly surrounded him and cut off his escape, but he still allegedly refused to surrender.
He was subdued with a Taser and taken into custody, KGTV reported.
The unidentified suspect was subsequently transported to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
Police said they suspect the driver was under the influence of drugs, KNSD reported.
At least two law enforcement officers suffered minor injuries during the ordeal, KSWB reported.
Investigators said the suspect did not access the firearms and equipment that were inside the police truck, according to KGTV.
It is unclear what charges he might face.