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The Madera Tribune

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Shots hit Madera police car, woman on ride-along hurt

 

MADERA, Calif. (AP) — A woman on a ride-along with a Madera police officer in his police cruiser can be heard on audio from dash camera video crying and pleading for the officer not to continue a pursuit after a gunman fired a dozen rounds at the patrol car.

 

The incident happened early Sunday morning when the officer tried to stop a white Mazda sports utility vehicle on Howard Road and pursued it after the vehicle took off west.

 

The officer had planned to stop the Mazda because its driver did not yield and went through a stop sign without stopping, said Madera Police Lt. Giachino Chiaramonte.

 

Just before shots rang, the woman can be heard on the audio saying: "He has a gun, oh no!" About nine rounds were fired after the Mazda turned onto Lighthouse Drive from Mainberry Drive. Four more were fired as the Mazda neared Shannon Avenue.

 

The officer and the woman were not hit by bullets, but the woman suffered cuts from shattered glass after the patrol car's windshield was shot out.

 

Two bullets hit the windshield, narrowly missing the officer and the woman in the front passenger seat. The bullets disabled the patrol car and the officer had to give up the chase.

 

Police found the SUV at Krest Street, a few blocks from where the officer last saw it. Police say they also located an AR15-style pistol and other unspecified evidence.

 

No arrests have been made.

 

The department says the officer had just finished training and was on his second week working alone. Civilians are allowed to ride-alongs with police if the department gives approval.

 

The officer and the woman were not identified.

 

"The officer had recently been released from training and was on his second week as a solo officer," said Chiaramonte. "We are thankful and blessed that both the officer and civilian were not injured. 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."

 

Those with information on the Mazda and its occupants should contact Det. Sgt. Johnny Smith, 675-4291.

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