TULARE – A routine traffic stop turned into a car chase and then an officer-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon.
The incident began around 1:30 p.m. when a Tulare officer attempted to make a traffic stop near the Tulare fairgrounds at Bardsley Avenue and K Street. The driver, identified as 39-year-old Joseph Langton of Strathmore, refused to pull over and attempted to flee from the officer, authorities said.
The officer took chase after the suspect, who began throwing things out of the car. Authorities believe the items were illegal drugs. The suspect then drove his vehicle into an olive orchard across from Sunnyside Elementary School in Strathmore and jumped out.
The officer followed the suspect into the orchard in an attempt to apprehend him and at some point shot him. Details on the shooting and what led up to it have not been released.
Langton was transported to the hospital for treatment and is expected to survive. He was arrested for suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for sale, transportation of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana for sale, and felony evading a peace officer, according to authorities.
The shooting will be investigated by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
Sunnyside Elementary School was put on lockdown after gunshots were heard in the orchard. Tulare officers gave school officials clearance to end the lockdown at 2:15 p.m.
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