At least two suspects are still at large after shooting 14 rounds at a police car in a high speed pursuit. All this was witnessed by the cruiser’s dash cam and a ride-along passenger, who was reduced to tears as she was hit with windshield glass broken by bullets.
If you’ve ever wondered what a cop’s work day is really like, you might be able to take a ride-along with your local department. Then again, I wouldn’t blame you for never ever wanting to do that after watching this video.
At around 4:30 a.m. this Sunday, a civilian woman was riding with with Madera, California Police Officer Julian Garcia in a standard Crown Victoria cruiser as he initiated a traffic stop on a Mazda CX-7 for a “broken headlight” according to NBC.
Madera’s a small city in pretty much the dead-middle of California, deep in the vast desert between Yosemite National Park and the Pacific Ocean. Law Street calls it the sixth most dangerous metro area in the western United States based on its violent crime-per-capita data for last year.
The situation you see play out in the video here seems peaceful as the Mazda appears to be pulling over, even using its turn signal while slowing down. But the calm dissolves rapidly as the SUV takes off, blows through stop signs, and a passenger peppers the police car with bullets.
You can hear Officer Garcia’s passenger become understandably afraid as he radios his location and reports the gunshots while maintaining a pursuit.
“We are thankful and blessed that both the officer and civilian were not injured,” Madera Police Lieutenant Gino Chiaramonte told the LA Times. “The officer’s decisive actions prevented the civilian ride-along from being seriously injured. The officer demonstrated a very cool demeanor for such a short time with the department.”
This was reportedly Officer Garcia’s second week working solo.
His ride-along, who has not been identified, was scratched by broken glass as two incoming rounds pierced the police car’s windshield and blew out its back window.
Madera Police Chief Steven Frazier elaborated to NBC that “Approximately 14 rounds were fired at the police car,” three of those hit it and one ended up disabling it. Nine rounds was originally reported, but that figure has been updated. “Frazier said that one of the bullets even landed inside someone’s home in a pile of laundry,” reports NBC.
The Mazda escaped into the night but was later found abandoned, along with this firearm being described as an “AR-15 style pistol.”
Detective Sergeant Johnny Smith told NBC “there were paper license plates on the car, which was stolen from Fresno.” Paper license plates, no license plates at all, is a pretty common look in California due to the long grace period you get between buying and registering your vehicle. But apparently even the paper ones on this car weren’t legit.
The investigation is ongoing, and if you have any information that could lead to the apprehension of the suspects I’d implore you to call investigators at 559-675-4291.
Hopefully the individuals are tracked before they can wreak any more havoc, but in the meantime I think this video is one of the most powerful illustrations of police life I’ve ever seen.
The scene devolved from giggling to taking gunfire in the time it took to read this sentence. There are very few jobs that put that kind of stress on a person, and if you take anything away from watching this I hope it’s some level of respect for what it’s like to be a cop.
Chief Frazier said the department doesn’t plan on changing its ride-along policy, though I wonder if the waiting list has gotten shorter now that this video’s gone viral.