Off-duty Sheriff’s deputy shot in Gaslamp, search for suspects continue
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — An off-duty lawman and a bystander suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds early Monday during an encounter with an unidentified assailant near Petco Park.
Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Philpot was walking with a group of people, including two off-duty Escondido police officers, when a long-haired man armed with a pistol confronted them in the 500 block of Island Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter about 1:15 a.m., according to San Diego police.
The deputy tried in vain to wrest away the weapon, and during the struggle it repeatedly discharged, wounding him three times in the shoulder, Officer John Buttle said. A man walking nearby was injured in the arm by an apparent stray round.
Following the gunfire, the assailant — described as a roughly 5-foot-10-inch, 165-pound black man in his 30s with shoulder-length dreadlocks — fled to the south and east. The man, who was wearing black shorts and a long-sleeve shirt at the time of the shooting, remained at large this afternoon.
Medics took Philpot to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. The other victim drove himself to a hospital, SDPD Lt. Ernesto Servin said. Both were expected to recover.
It was unclear what prompted the violence.
"We know there was a confrontation,” Servin told reporters. "But what was said? We don’t know exactly.”
Investigators were reviewing images of the incident captured by surveillance cameras at several businesses in the busy downtown district two blocks south of Westfield Horton Plaza mall.
The assailant may have been with a companion at the time of the fracas, according to Servin.
"We think there may have been two (men), based on the video, but right now we’re focused on the individual with the gun,” the lieutenant said.
Police shut down the 500 and 600 blocks of Island and Sixth avenues to allow detectives to document the scene of the crime. Both stretches of roadway were open again as of late morning.
Servin noted that law enforcement officers are entitled to carry a gun while off duty but said he did not know if any of those involved in the incident were armed.
Philpot has been employed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for 11 years and serves in the agency’s Emergency Services Division.