Lead Officer in San Bernardino Terrorist Pursuit Credits Fellow Officers' Help

Officer concerned about more violent shooting following the pursuit.

The lead officer who was first to pursue the San Bernardino shooters in their get-away SUV commended his fellow officers for mitigating further deadly violence.

Sgt. Andy Capps of the Redlands Police Department was in the first police vehicle that chased the vehicle that authorities say Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were in after they fatally shot 14 people and wounded 17 others on Dec. 2.

Capps recalled the gunfire that erupted after the black SUV stopped.

"It was apparent what they intended to do. They were going to fight with us and they were going to hurt more people and we just couldn't allow that," Capps said.

The attack in San Bernardino happened a few hours before the shootout with police. Capps was on watch command at the Redlands Police Department and went into the field after the sighting of the SUV believed to be connected to the San Bernardino mass shooters.

An undercover San Bernardino police officer in plain clothes spotted the SUV and needed a marked police car to pull over the vehicle but it kept traveling with Capps and other law enforcement vehicles behind it.

"I saw them putting on what I believed to be bullet proof vests."

Shortly after, the vehicle exited the freeway and turned onto San Bernardino Avenue. Capps said he saw the SUV's back window shatter and he saw gunfire coming from inside the vehicle.

"I didn't want to get shot so I backed off just a little bit. I knew how it was going to end. I envisioned they're going to stop and whoever is in that car is going to get out with rifles, and start shooting at the police cars."

Capps said he saw the driver exit the SUV and aim his rifle at the deputies across the street. Capps took cover behind his police car and said he had enough support. 

"I had guys running up behind me and shooting right over my right shoulder and it was deafening, painfully deafening."

The gunfire eventually stopped and a SWAT team arrived to took over.

Farook and Malik died in the gunfire exchange with authorities.

"I'm telling you, the finest law enforcement personnel in the world were there that day," Capps said.

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