A San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy was bitten by a man suspected of being under the influence of drugs in a hostile confrontation between the suspect and deputies early Sunday morning, officials confirmed.
The incident began at approximately 4 a.m. when a suspect, later identified as Casey Clason, entered a 7-11 on E. Vista Way and Vale Terrace and emptied a two liter bottle of soda onto his head, throwing it at the store window before walking out, SDSO Captain Charles Cinnamo said.
The man was visibly distraught, deputies said, so the employees at the store called 911 for help.
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Deputies responded to the scene and found Clason in the parking lot of a nearby church, with his hands wrapped around a flag pole.
His face had blood on it, Cinnamo said, though deputies did not know why.
Despite commands, Clason ignored the deputies and walked away.
"Based on the clerk's statements and Clason's behavior, deputies believed Clason was possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol and clearly a danger to himself or others and attempted to detain him," Cinnamo said in a statement to the press.
When the deputies tried to detain him, Clason became violent right away and tried to kick deputies while on his back.
Deputies deployed their Taser devices and pepper sprayed the suspect, but it appeared to have no impact, Cinnamo said.
"The escalation of force also had to ensue in order to free the deputy and put Mr. Clason into custody," Cinnamo added.
As a deputy attempted to put Clason in handcuffs, Clason grabbed one of the deputies by the leg and bit him.
In response, deputies used hand and impact weapon strikes to the suspect's upper arm to make him release his jaw, still on the deputy's leg, Cinnamo said.
Eventually, deputies were able to take Clason into custody.
Clason was taken to Tri-City Medical Center for evaluation and then booked into Vista Detention Facility on two counts of felony assault on a deputy, being under the influence of a controlled substance and violating the terms of his probation.
Three deputies were treated for injuries to their extremities. They are expected to recover. The deputy who was bitten is now recovering at home.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Diego Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.
No further information was available.