Passing motorists came to the rescue Wednesday after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot near San Diego.
The shooting took place at about 6:15 p.m. on Interstate 8, California Highway Patrol Capt. Michael Harris told KSWB-TV.
The officer “was investigating a traffic collision when he became involved in a struggle with a pedestrian, resulting in a single gunshot,” Harris said.
Yuhao Du of San Diego was charged with first-degree attempted murder, assaulting a police officer with a firearm, taking an officer’s firearm and causing great bodily injury, according to KSWB-TV.
“Several passing motorists stopped to assist the injured officer by providing medical aid and restraining Du until additional law enforcement arrived,” CHP said in a news release.
The officer involved was identified as Tony Pacheco, a seven-year veteran of CHP, according to KSWB-TV.
CHP Officer Tony Pacheco was shot in the leg while investigating a crash on I-8 Wednesday in Mission Valley. The seven year veteran is currently in stable condition and recovering at Scripps Mercy Hospital.https://t.co/TlRE2YeMdh pic.twitter.com/NIRZ5Lj01l
— ABC 10News San Diego (@10News) April 29, 2022
“I am extremely grateful for the members of the public who put themselves in harm’s way to help our officer after he was shot in the leg,” CHP Chief Scott Parker said in a statement.
“This incident could have ended in a greater tragedy had those individuals not intervened. … Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer and his family as he recovers from his injuries,” he said.
CHP Capt. Taylor Cooper noted that the incident came just before a memorial ceremony that honored California’s fallen officers, according to the Times of San Diego. He said he gave thanks that “Tony didn’t have to make that sacrifice.”
“This community wasn’t gonna let it happen. And that’s what I’m grateful for,” Cooper said.
Pacheco was reported in serious but stable condition.
Pacheco had responded to the crash and went to speak with Du, who was standing in a median between the lanes, CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez said.
Du began “lunging for his service gun” and trying “to take control of it,” Sanchez said.
CHP OFFICER SHOT: I just spoke to a Good Samaritan who sent me this photo from the scene of Wednesday’s shooting.
He pulled up moments after the suspect opened fire, and tied a sweatshirt and belt around the officers leg to stop the bleeding.
Hear his story at 10PM on @KUSINews pic.twitter.com/TiwUAKLztS
— Hunter Sowards (@huntersowards3) April 28, 2022
The gun went off as the two men struggled for it, Sanchez said.