After a massive manhunt, authorities have surrounded a house in the Irvington district where they believe an armed man suspected of shooting and injuring two Fremont police officers Wednesday has barricaded himself.
Shortly after midnight Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly told reporters Thursday morning that the suspect was inside a house, which was not his own, and the homeowner was not inside.
“There are really good indicators that our suspect might be there,” Kelly said. “That being said, we are really focused around this spot, the indicators are good and it feels like things are lining up.”
Kelly said they are trying to talk the suspect into coming out of the house.
“If that doesn’t work, then we go to step two, where we’ll probably break windows and use tear gas,” he said. Fremont police were also looking for two other accomplices.
Wednesday afternoon, a Fremont officer making a stop, who has served a year with the Fremont Police Department, was shot once and taken to a San Jose hospital where he was in critical condition after surgery. The second officer, a 10-year detective with the department, was shot twice, but remained in stable condition at the hospital, Fremont police spokeswoman Officer Geneva Bosques said. Both were taken to Regional Medical Center in San Jose, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith who went to the facility, along with Fremont mayor Bill Harrison.
“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers to the Fremont Police Department family, it is greatly appreciated,” Harrison said on the city’s Facebook page.
Outside the hospital Wednesday evening, scores of officers from several agencies and a half-dozen Fremont officers gathered to lend their support.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” said San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus. “Every 61 hours a cop is killed in the United States. That 61st hour could have been today and we’re not out of here yet.” Meanwhile, Alameda County Sheriff’s tactical units began searching the surrounding area and its mix of residential homes, apartments and businesses, which included the use of an unmanned drone.
“Right now we are in a mode of going to and searching yard to yard, door to door, to find the suspect responsible for this shooting,” Kelly said. “We want to resolve this situation safely. We’re going to move as quickly as we need to. We’re going to move as slowly as we need to.”
Kelly said several people were detained near the scenes, but he would not elaborate on why. Officers have set a perimeter around a large city block, or about 10 acres, Kelly said, asking for any residents in the area to call 911 if they notice anything suspicious.
Just before 10 p.m., the sheriff’s department reported on Twitter it had contained an area where a suspect may be holed up.
The first shooting happened after a traffic stop around 1:33 p.m. at the Five Corners intersection where Fremont and Washington boulevards meet. According to police, the suspect’s vehicle backed into an officer’s patrol car, after which shots were fired and the first officer was hit. The suspect or suspects fled on foot into the Irvington district, and officers from several agencies responded to an area behind the Safeway store on the 1300 block of Roberts Avenue, a short distance away from the first shooting, Bosques said. About 10 minutes after the first shooting, multiple shots were again fired and a Fremont police detective was injured and taken to the hospital, Bosques said.
ABC7 Bay Area reported that the suspect was driving a white truck, when he lurched into the first officer, and that he ran into the nearby Safeway. Employee Ryan Matias told the station that he saw a man with a gun inside the store as employees and customers were told to duck.
After the second incident, residents in an adjoining neighborhood were told to shelter in place and received 911 calls to inform them of the situation. Into the evening, more than 100 officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies searched house to house for the suspect.
Police were unsure if the shootings involved one suspect or more. At least one suspect is described as Hispanic, about 6 feet tall, with a shaved head and mustache. He was wearing a San Francisco Giants shirt and gray shorts, police said.
Multiple agencies were assisting Fremont police, including the Berkeley, Hayward and Union City police departments, involving hundreds of officers, Kelly said. Citizens were urged to avoid barricaded areas and neighbors around Roberts Avenue to stay indoors.
Police also asked all the TV helicopters to clear out of the area because stations are showing their tactical operations while they’re still looking for the suspects.
The shootings happened less than 15 minutes after police cleared the same intersection after a woman was hit by a car.