Hayward Man Arrested in Shooting That Critically Injured San Francisco Police Officer

NBC Bay Area

A Hayward man was arrested Friday after shooting and critically wounding a San Francisco officer earlier this week, police said.

The suspect, Sesar Valadez, 32, was also severely wounded in Wednesday's "exchange of gunfire" in the Castro district. 

Booked in absentia at a hospital, Valadez was booked on a slew of charges, including two counts of attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with obliterated serial numbers, driving a stolen vehicle, discharging a firearm in a negligent manner, carrying a loaded firearm in public and resisting arrest, according to police.

Wednesday's incident began just after midnight when a 41-year-old officer, who had been flagged down by a citizent, started to investigate a suspicious vehicle near 18th and Diamond streets, according to police. That's when shots were fired.

The officer, a nine-year veteran, sustained at least one gunshot wound. He has undergone surgery and remains hospitalized, police said.

Valadez was also hospitalized with a gunshot wound. His injuries are considered life-threatening, police said.

The investigation has revealed that the car deemed suspicious was a gray Chrysler sedan with paper dealership plates that had been reported stolen. A firearm, that police believe belonged to the suspect, was found at the crime scene, and homes in the area were riddled with bullet holes.

Police said two women and a man carjacked a SuperCab at gunpoint near the crime scene, and they believe it is connected to the shooting.

Police found the cab abandoned on Oakwood in the Mission district, where dozens of police officers launched a massive search for the suspects later Wednesday.

Neighbors say officers searched backyards and rooftops in the area for hours. It remains unknown whether the suspects have been located.

The San Francisco Police Department's homicide unit and Internal Affairs Division, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Police Accountability are investigating the shooting.

Castro resident Pete Howells described hearing "a lot of shots" and noted that the the shooting was "not just your typical exchange."

The incident marked the third officer-involved shooting in a Bay Area city in under 12 hours. A stabbing suspect on Tuesday was killed after being shot by police in Sunnyvale. Hours later, Sonoma County sheriff's deputies shot a man who tried to run over a person in a stolen car.

It's also the second incident in two weeks to leave a San Francisco police officer critically injured. On Oct. 18, bicycle officer Elia Lewin-Tankel was run down by a van driven by a suspect wanted in a weapons investigation. Lewin-Tankel is still recovering in the hospital.

Wednesday morning's shooting was not the first instance of the Castro district being marred by violence on Halloween night. Nine people were shot in the neighborhood in 2006 after a fight broke out.

Anyone with information about the recent shooting is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department tip line at 415-575-4444. People can also text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with "SFPD."

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