FRESNO – A police officer shot at a man after he refused to pull over his vehicle during a traffic stop in southeast Fresno on Sunday night.
Around 6 p.m., a motorcycle officer attempted to pull a car over for an obstructed license near Washington Avenue and Eighth Street. The driver, who was alone in the car, failed to pull over, and instead sped off. He didn’t make it far, as he crashed into a parked truck near Cedar and McKenzie avenues, said Fresno Police Lt. Phil Cooley.
“As the officer went to try to contact the driver of the vehicle, the driver abruptly threw the vehicle into reverse toward the officer,” Cooley said. “Afraid for his safety, the officer fired shots to protect himself.”
None of the bullets struck Mata. He once again took off in his car, but crashed into a fence a few blocks away, Cooley said.
Mata fled the scene on foot, but officers were able to catch up to him. They arrested him on suspicion of assault on a police officer. Mata was taken to Community Regional Medical Center to treat his injuries.
“I believe his injuries were based on the crashes he endured,” Cooley said.
Investigators said that Mata was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest.
Mata was a parolee who had been in jail numerous times, police said. His former convictions include driving under the influence, obstructing an officer, running away from a police officer, and buying or receiving a stolen vehicle.
The police officer, who has not been identified, was unharmed. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is the department’s standard procedure, Cooley said.
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