BODFISH, Calif. -- A California Highway Patrol officer was shot twice by a passenger in an SUV that had flipped a U-turn to confront him as he stood on the side of the road in Bodfish using his radar gun, according to CHP investigators.
The unidentified officer told investigators he was conducting radar checks about 10:45 p.m. Sunday on Highway 178 near Borel Road when a dark blue SUV sped past him.
Assistant Chief Brian Smith with the California Highway Patrol said the vehicle then made a U-turn, crossed the double-yellow lines and veered close to the officer. So the officer turned on his headlights.
Smith said a passenger in that SUV rolled down the window and fired several shots at the officer with a fully automatic gun. The officer returned fire before the SUV raced off eastbound toward Lake Isabella. He told investigators he believe he may have struck the shooter. Officials say the officer tried to chase them, but his patrol car had a flat tire.
The officer was struck in the hand and in the chest, but he was wearing a protective vest. His injuries are considered minor, and he was treated and released from Kern Medical Center.
County law enforcement agencies are now working together to locate at least three people, last seen in a dark blue 200s model SUV, like a Yukon, with large 24-inch chrome wheels, bullet holes on the left-hand side and a broken left rear window where the shooter was sitting.
The shooter is described as a Hispanic male, wearing a light colored tank top, possibly suffering gunshot wounds.
The driver is also described as a Hispanic male, last seen wearing a white cowboy hat and button up shirt.
A Blue Alert has been issued, which means officers outside of Kern County are also helping to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers. The full alert can be read via the Emergency Digital Information Service: Blue Alert
The CHP is the lead law enforcement agency conducting the manhunt, and it will take over the administrative investigation on the officer's conduct. The sheriff's department will take over the criminal investigation when the suspects are caught.
Officials are withholding the officer's name, and he has been placed on administrative leave.
Highway 178 was closed until 9 a.m. Monday during the investigation. The road is now open and clear.
The suspects are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on their location is asked to call 861-3110 [or 911].