Law enforcement officials involved in fatal Lemon Grove shooting identified
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Authorities Tuesday publicly identified four law enforcement officers and a pistol-toting young man who got into an exchange of gunfire that left the latter dead in a neighborhood near Mount Miguel High School.
Isaias Raziel Ochoa, 19, died at the scene of the predawn shootout, which erupted off the 2100 block of Rebecca Way in Lemon Grove following a road chase last Thursday, sheriff’s Lt. Kenn Nelson said.
The lawmen involved in the shooting — sheriff’s Sgt. Kotaro Murashige; La Mesa police Officers Taylor Persitza and Jonathan Seydel; and San Diego police Officer Jonathan Wiese — suffered no injuries during the deadly encounter.
The events that led to Ochoa’s death began shortly before 1:30 a.m., when Persitza spotted a gray Ford Five Hundred sedan with an open door stopped at a green light near Fletcher Parkway and Baltimore Drive in La Mesa, according to police.
While approaching to investigate, the officer heard a scream from inside the car, after which it sped away, Nelson said.
Persitza gave chase, following the vehicle into Spring Valley, where Murashige joined the pursuit. After entering Lemon Grove and winding up on a dead-end street just west of state Route 125, the Ford rolled to a stop, and Ochoa jumped out and ran off along with two companions.
Ochoa climbed over a nearby fence and fled through a residential yard. Several minutes later, officers spotted him on a nearby dark hillside behind a home, a short distance from the abandoned car. Officers then heard several gunshots from his direction, Nelson said.
At that point, Wiese, who had been dispatched to aid in the chase, released a service dog, which charged Ochoa on the embankment and began biting him.
While struggling with the attacking animal, Ochoa allegedly began shooting a pistol, possibly trying to target the canine along with the law enforcement personnel trying to capture him, Nelson said. The sheriff’s sergeant and three officers then returned fire, killing him.
The chase and gunfire resulted in no other injuries, the lieutenant said. The police dog was not harmed.
One of Ochoa’s cohorts, meanwhile, had escaped. Shortly after the shooting, officers found the other one hiding in a patch of shrubbery on Camino de las Palmas and took him into custody.
The detainee, whose name has not been released, was questioned and released, though his role in the events that led to the gunfire remains under investigation, Nelson said.
On Friday morning, the outstanding suspect, 19-year-old Dominic Jones of San Diego, was arrested in Lemon Grove. Jones — who had been behind the wheel of the Ford during the pursuit — was the subject of a recently issued arrest warrant for an alleged probation violation stemming from a 2016 assault case.
Ochoa, conversely, was "not on any law enforcement radar,” according to Nelson.
Murashige is a 22-year veteran of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Persitza, Seydel and Wiese have been with their agencies for one, 1 1/2 and 19 years, respectively.