California Highway Patrol officer Kenyon Marc Youngstrom was shot and a suspect was killed on Interstate 680 between Walnut Creek and Alamo Tuesday morning at the height of the morning commute. The shooting shut down both directions of the highway for hours.
Youngstrom remains in critical condition Wednesday morning, as family and friends gather at the hospital.
Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said two CHP officers in two patrol cars pulled over a driver of a green Jeep Wrangler for an unknown reason at 8:19 a.m.
It was during this stop that Lee said the Jeep driver pulled out a gun and opened fire on Officer Youngstrom, who walked up to his vehicle. A second officer then returned fire on the driver, who later died. Both were taken to John Muir Medical Center. Youngstrom is still in critical condition, according to CHP.
The driver's name was not released.
Youngstrom is based out of the Martinez office of the highway patrol. The CHP border division tweeted that he has a wife and four children. NBC Bay Area reported that he also has a large extended family in the Bay Area.
Lee said there was a dash camera inside one of the patrol cars and the video was being analyzed.
Highway 680 remained shut down in both directions in the area of Livorna Road until 1 p.m. Northbound lanes reopened just after 1 p.m., but southbound lanes remained closed until 4:30 when the CHP reopened two lanes closest to the median. By 6 p.m. all but one southbound lane was reopened. Traffic was slow extremely slow through the area during the evening commute.
Caltrans said as many as 180,000 vehicles drive that stretch of roadway every day.
During the closure, there were dozens of police cars, fire trucks and investigative units (included tents) on the roadway. One fire truck had it's hook and ladder high in the sky above the scene.
NBC Bay Area reported that a random driver who went by the scene called 911 to report that there was a problem.
Helicopter video over the scene showed a dark-colored hardtop Jeep Wrangler on the side of the road behind a CHP cruiser. The front driver's side window of the Jeep was shattered.
One Walnut Creek driver tweeted that it took her 50 minutes to drive one mile. Traffic was backed up for miles on I-680.
Initially, the CHP said there was no threat to the public, but then later asked for the public's help looking for a black Nissan Maxima "possibly involved in the officer shooting on I-680 in Contra Costa County." Lee said that car and its female driver were found in Danville but that investigators have determined it has no connection to the case.
Youngstrom, who is 37-years-old, is a 7-year veteran of the CHP, and was previously in the U.S. Army Reserve.