Officer, gunman seen in national park wounded in shootout
EXETER, Calif. (AP) — A man accused of threatening people with a gun under the giant trees of Sequoia National Park in central California led police on a chase Friday and was wounded in a shootout that also injured an officer, authorities said.
A California Highway Patrol officer was hit in the shoulder and was expected to survive her injuries, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect was struck in the upper torso and was in critical condition.
The situation began in the heart of the national park, where the Big Trees Trail runs under the park’s namesake giant sequoias, when park rangers responded to a call of a man brandishing a gun and threatening visitors. There were no reports of injuries or shots fired inside the park, which shut down as rangers searched for the suspect.
A half-hour later, Tulare County sheriff’s deputies were called to the unincorporated community of Three Rivers, the gateway to Sequoia National Park, over a report of a man driving with a gun, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
The deputies and CHP officers pursued the man’s car, and he began shooting at them through the window, authorities said. He crashed into an orchard, jumped out and ran away.
He and the CHP officer were then wounded during a shootout. The sheriff’s department later confirmed the man had been involved in the incident in the national park.