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Shoplifter attacks officers with baseball bat

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Dana Littlefield

The San Diego Union-Tribune

An El Cajon police officer was attacked outside a Walmart Friday afternoon by a suspected shoplifter who swung a baseball bat at the officer, striking him in an arm, police said.

The incident started just before 3:40 p.m. when employees at the Walmart on Fletcher Parkway called the El Cajon Police Department to report a man they said was trying to steal sporting goods from the store, Lt. Will Guerin said in a news release.

The loss-prevention employees told police the man had made threats of violence while brandishing an aluminum bat inside the store. They followed the man, but eventually lost sight of him.

The employees had not located the shoplifting suspect by the time the police officer arrived, according to Guerin. As the officer approached the front of the store from the parking lot, the suspect walked out, still holding the baseball bat.

He confronted the officer, police said, ignoring commands to drop the bat. Seconds later, the man charged at the officer while holding the bat above his head.

Police said the man swung the bat at the officer’s head, but the officer was able to deflect the blow.

The bat struck the officer on the upper arm.

The officer was able to tackle the suspect and hold him on the ground, where he continued to struggle. When other officers arrived, they handcuffed the man and arrested him. Because the man kept struggling violently, police said in the news release, they placed the man in “further restraints.”

The officer suffered bruising, swelling and pain in his arm, but declined to be taken to a hospital for medical treatment, police said. The suspect, a 26-year-old man, suffered minor scrapes as a result of the struggle with the officers.

Police said records checks revealed that the suspect three felony convictions for violent crimes between 2014 and 2019, two of which involved law enforcement officers as victims.

The suspect was booked into county jail Friday on suspicion of several offenses, including robbery and attempted murder on a police officer, according to the Police Department.

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

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