MADERA, Ca. -- Dash cam video from a Madera Police Department patrol vehicle shows an officer and his civilian ride-along passenger get shot at more than a dozen times. The shooting occurred around 4:30am Sunday morning.
Investigators said it was supposed to be a traffic stop. The police officer, whose name has yet to be released, attempted to pull the driver of a white Mazda SUV over but the driver didn't stop. Instead, the front passenger of that car pointed a gun at the patrol car, and started shooting.
Lt. Gino Chiaramonte said, "Three rounds hit the vehicle; two of them hit the windshield. And the third round struck the rear passenger tire which blew it out and that's kind of how the vehicle got disabled and couldn't continue."
Chiaramonte said at least 14 shots were fired from this AR-15 style pistol. The gun and the suspects' car were abandoned not too far from where the chase began. Either one of those bullets could have hit the officer or the female civilian. The woman had been on the ride along to learn more about policing.
"By the Grace of God and the man above, physical injuries are basically none. She obviously had some scratches or minor injuries from the glass chards, but other than that, the physical ailments, there are none," stated Chiaramonte.
Chiaramonte said the officer had recently graduated from the police academy and had only been on his own for two weeks. The police department praised the officer for his calm demeanor, especially while having a civilian passenger in the car.
"Heroic under gun fire. New officer, went through his training, did extremely well. We're so proud of him as an officer from our agency's perspective," stated Chiaramonte.
Investigators said they do have some leads on suspects, and the white Mazda SUV was stolen from Fresno County. As for the officer and the civilian passenger, Chiaramonte said both are understandably shaken up. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave to recover from the incident.