Family asks West Covina officer shooting suspect to turn himself in

WEST COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- As authorities were continuing the massive manhunt Saturday for a suspect accused of shooting a police officer in the chest, the family of the suspect is asking him to turn himself in.

Maria Tijerina said her brother, Jose Luis Chavez, told his 10-year-old daughter he loved her before leaving the family's home around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.

Less than an hour later, Chavez was on his bicycle in the area of Badillo Street and Yaleton Avenue when he was stopped by a West Covina police officer. That's when authorities said the 47-year-old shot the man on duty.

"I started hearing the gunshots. I mean, it was as loud as -- I thought I was at a movie at first," Tijerina said.

Lt. Joe Mendoza of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Chavez shot at the officer multiple times before the officer returned fire.

The officer, whose identity has not yet been released, was wounded in the torso but his injuries were not life-threatening. Police believe Chavez was wounded but he fled and left his bicycle behind.

Dozens of SWAT officers spent several hours searching the area.

"For him to actually try to get stopped and do what they're saying he did is unbelievable to me," Tijerina said.

The suspect's sister said Chavez has a criminal record for drug use and domestic violence, and the family is concerned they haven't heard from him.

Tijerina said she had a message for her brother.

"...Luis, you know, turn yourself in. I mean, if it wasn't you, even better," she said. "If it was you, then I know there's got to be -- I don't know how much of a good explanation -- but you got to turn yourself in."

Authorities said they believe Chavez is armed, and anyone with information about him was urged to contact the LASD.
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