Crime

Escalon police officer shot in shoulder, taken to Modesto hospital

Escalon police are investigating a shooting that injured one of its officers in the early morning hours of June 21, 2011. Pictured here aer evidence markers near the shooting which took place in the 2100 block of Jackson Ave. (Joan Barnett Lee/jlee@modbee.com)
Escalon police are investigating a shooting that injured one of its officers in the early morning hours of June 21, 2011. Pictured here aer evidence markers near the shooting which took place in the 2100 block of Jackson Ave. (Joan Barnett Lee/jlee@modbee.com)

A police officer shot by his own weapon during a struggle with a suspected burglar Tuesday morning is expected to recover from his injuries, but the shooter remains at large.

Responding to an increase in commercial burglaries in the city, officer Shane Johnson was patrolling the 2100 block of Jackson Avenue, home to a Rite Aid pharmacy, a mortgage company and a nail salon.

Escalon Police Chief James Shaw said the officer spotted a man in an alley behind the businesses and stopped to investigate.

Johnson approached the man on foot and started talking to him, the chief said, but the man immediately lunged for the officer's gun.

A short struggle ensued as the man and Johnson struggled for the gun. It ended when the man managed to turn the weapon toward the officer and fire one round, Shaw said.

The bullet hit Johnson's right shoulder.

The man started to run and Johnson, who had regained control of the gun, chased him. The wounded officer now was holding his weapon in his left hand, Shaw said.

Realizing the severity of his injuries, Johnson ended the foot pursuit and radioed for help. He was transported to a Modesto hospital, where he was listed in stable condition late Tuesday.

Officers from the Ripon Police Department and the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department helped conduct a door-to-door search with a K-9 around the shooting scene, but the man was not found.

He is described as possibly Latino, more than 6 feet tall, with dark eyes, curly, medium-length hair and possibly facial hair. He was last seen wearing knit gloves, a long-sleeved black hooded sweat shirt, blue jeans and white athletic shoes.

A composite drawing is expected to be released soon.

Anyone with information about the man or the shooting is asked to call the Escalon Police Department at (209) 838-7093 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers are eligible for a reward. Tipsters can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a message to 274637 and typing "TIP704."

Rite Aid pharmacy is offering a $5,000 reward for the man's arrest.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366.

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