Trial begins for ex-con who allegedly shot officer in drainage tunnel

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Opening statements are scheduled Wednesday in the trial of an ex-con accused of shooting a San Diego police officer after attempting to evade arrest in a vehicle pursuit and then through a storm drain in City Heights.

Ignacio Canela, 33, is charged with premeditated attempted murder and other counts stemming from the October 2013 shooting that seriously injured Officer Tim Bell.

Canela was arrested after allegedly shooting SDPD Officer Tim Bell four times in the open drain under the intersection of Interstate 805 and State Route 15.

Bell testified during a preliminary hearing in 2014 that he was wounded after wrestling with Canela inside a dark drainage tunnel.

Related Link: Ex-con behind bars after City Heights freeway chase

Bell said he caught up with Canela — who officers had pursued through local streets while trying to stop him for outstanding felony warrants – and chased the suspect through a canyon and into the tunnel.

Bell — a five-year SDPD veteran at the time — was shot in the left arm, twice in the left hip and once in the abdomen.

The events that led to the shooting began when officers put Canela under surveillance at a home in the 3700 block of Wightman Street, Capt. Terry McManus said.

After about an hour, Canela, who was the subject of two felony arrest warrants, walked out of the house with a female companion, and they got into a silver Dodge SUV with him behind the wheel and drove off, he said.

The officers attempted to pull over the vehicle as he exited the freeway onto Adams Avenue, the captain said.

The suspect refused and sped off to the south over various city streets before reaching a dead end in the 3000 block of Central Avenue. There, he jumped out of the SUV.Officers chased Canela through a nearby canyon and into the dark drainage channel where Bell, the first officer to enter, was then shot.

Canela — who has been to prison several times on burglary and other charges dating back to 2004 — faces 40 years to life in prison if convicted.

Categories: Local San Diego News