Bullets narrowly missed a civilian taking a ride in a police cruiser in central California early Sunday morning, when a traffic stop turned into a police chase.
Many citizens who want to understand the job of police officers and get a sense of the excitement of the job go on ride-alongs, like the woman in Madera. But her morning was anything but routine after a suspect ended up firing 14 rounds at the patrol car, leaving the passenger scratched by broken glass and crying in fear, but safe, Police Chief Steven Frazier recapped Monday at a news conference. Originally, police had said nine rounds were fired.
The story, and especially the dashcam video police posted of the shootout and chase, has been seen nearly 1 million times on the department's Facebook page, and made its rounds on the TV morning talk shows, including the "Today" show.
"By the grace of God," Frazier told reporters, "this officer and this civilian ride-along are with us today."
Officer Julian Garcia, who was on his second week of the job and spotted a Mazda with a broken headlight, wasn’t injured and the woman on the ride-along suffered minor scratches, Frazier said. She is part of the department's volunteer citizen's academy. She declined to be interviewed or identified.
Madera is in San Joaquin County near Yosemite National Park.
The ride-along started off normally on Sunday about 4:30 a.m., police said. Garcia tried to stop a Mazda SUV traveling west on Howard Road because the car had a broken headlight and the driver failed to stop at a stop sign, according to the dashcam video and the chief.
"He's not stopping," the woman is heard asking in the video, before a chase ensued.
Source: 'He Has a Gun!': Civilian on Ride-Along Cries During Madera Police Shootout | NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/california/Madera-Police-Ride-Along-Gets-Wild-With-Shootout-Woman-Cries-as-Rounds-Fired-at-Patrol-Car-398181491.html#ixzz4O95c3UyO
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