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Officer gets knocked over by a SUV, pulls off headshot as suspect tries to speed away

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Alex Riggins

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Body-worn camera footage released Friday shows a San Diego County sheriff’s detective being knocked down by the driver of a stolen SUV, then standing and shooting the driver several times at close range through the SUV’s windshield and open window.

The shooting occurred last Saturday morning in the parking lot of a strip mall in Otay Mesa, where Detective Anthony Garcia fatally shot 31-year-old Mizael Corrales, according to San Diego police and the county Sheriff’s Department.

Footage released late Friday afternoon shows Garcia and another deputy being knocked to the ground when Corrales reverses the SUV as deputies are trying to pull him from the driver’s seat. Garcia stands up quickly and fires at least three rounds through the SUV’s windshield from a few yards away, then at least nine more rounds through the open window from just feet away as he walks alongside the moving vehicle.

Corrales died at the scene. Authorities have not said where on Corrales’ body he was shot, but in the video released Friday deputies and paramedics can be heard discussing a gunshot wound to his head and the presence of “brain matter.”

The San Diego police homicide unit is investigating the shooting, as it does for all law enforcement shootings in the Police Department’s jurisdiction.

The California Attorney General’s Office, which is required by a recently enacted law to investigate all fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, will not investigate Corrales’ death, a spokesperson said Friday.

Though AB 1506 does not specifically list a vehicle as a deadly weapon, a bulletin from Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office says vehicles and other objects can be considered weapons when “used in a manner likely to produce death or great bodily injury.”

The incident unfolded around 9:20 a.m. Saturday when two undercover deputies spotted a stolen Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 SUV, according to police and sheriff’s officials. The undercover deputies requested two uniformed deputies respond to the strip mall at the corner of Roll Drive and Via de la Amistad, just a few hundred yards from a pedestrian border crossing.

Authorities said two passengers in the SUV got out when deputies ordered them to, but the driver remained in the vehicle.

Surveillance video from a nearby business and Garcia’s body-worn camera shows several deputies — both uniformed and undercover — wrestling with Corrales as they try to pull him out of the driver’s seat. When the vehicle reverses a few feet, Garcia can be seen with his gun drawn as his colleagues continue to struggle with Corrales and yell for him to exit the SUV.

That’s when Corrales reverses the vehicle again, and Garcia’s body-worn camera shows both him and another deputy knocked to the ground. Garcia, who is now in front of the vehicle, gets back to his feel almost immediately and fires at least three shots through the windshield as he moves toward the side of the SUV.

As the vehicle moves forward, Garcia fires at least nine more times, shooting at Corrales from close range through the open window.

The SUV then continues forward — toward a deputy and one of Corrales’ passengers, who jump out of the way — before crashing into a marked patrol vehicle and an unmarked, undercover sheriff’s vehicle and coming to a stop.

Authorities said deputies pulled Corrales from the SUV, and Garcia’s camera footage shows another deputy performing chest compressions on Corrales until paramedics arrive. The deputies can be heard in the video telling the medical personnel Corrales has been shot in the head.

Paramedics treated Garcia and the other deputy who was knocked down at the scene, San Diego police said. Both had injuries that were described as minor.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

©2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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