Seal Beach

Police Officer Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver, Fires Weapon Through Windshield

The suspected drunk driver ditched the vehicle -- along with his 12-year- old younger brother -- grabbed his four-year-old daughter, and took off on foot.

Generic caution tape with police lights in the background.

Police Sunday said they are pursuing felony charges against a 23-year-old Long Beach man they say was at the center of a Seal Beach officer-involved shooting.

While responding to a four-car pile-up at Seal Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, just after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, a Seal Beach officer was deliberately struck by a suspected drunk driver's vehicle, causing him to shoot at the man, police said.

The gunfire was aimed through the front windshield, but didn't hit the driver, who managed to escape temporarily, authorities said.

"The suspect fled northbound on Pacific Coast Highway at a high rate of speed, where his vehicle collided with the driver side of another Seal Beach police officer while he was driving his police car," Sgt. Nick Nicholas of the Seal Beach Police Department said. "The suspect vehicle then careened into another, uninvolved vehicle head-on where it came to rest."

That's when the suspect ditched the vehicle -- along with his 12-year- old younger brother -- grabbed his four-year-old daughter, and took off on foot, Nicholas said.

It wasn't long before police were able to track down the man, use a Taser to subdue him and take him into custody, according to Seal Beach police.

However, prior to the Taser being deployed, the little girl had been snatched away to safety, Nicholas said.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and later booked into the Orange County Jail.

"Once the officers discovered there were children involved in this incident, they immediately put the safety and well-being of the children first," Seal Beach police Chief Philip L. Gonshak said. "The officers' efforts should be commended as all off the children involved are safe at home with their family."

The officer who was initially struck by the suspect's vehicle was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The officer driving the car later hit as the suspect tried to flee was also taken to hospital to be evaluated.

There was no word about the condition of the person or people in the second vehicle hit by the suspect.

Suspect Oscar Eduardo Mercado was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge, as well as assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, felony child endangerment of two children, and resisting or delaying a peace officer with violence.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Jeff Gibson at 562-799-4100 ext. 1109.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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