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Cop shot at while investigating suicide

March 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police are shot at while investigating a suicide on an Orange County freeway. An officer returns fire, but the shooter got away. The incident began when a woman apparently committed suicide by jumping from an overpass onto a freeway. As police investigated, an officer was shot at from a nearby car. It happened near the 57 Freeway and Imperial Highway in Brea. Investigators placed markers next to bullet casings Monday afternoon. Three were found on the shoulder of Tonner Canyon Rd., beneath the 57 Freeway overpass in an isolated area near Brea. Bullets were fired after a suspect shot at a California Highway Patrol officer.

"CHP officer stated he saw a silhouette, saw a muzzle flash and heard a popping sound and again, he believed he was being shot at and returned fire," said Orange County Sheriff's Dept. Spokesman Jim Amormino.

As the officer radioed in, the light-colored Honda or Acura then took off, according to investigators. The incident happened around 8 p.m. Sunday.

On Monday morning Eyewitness News stumbled on one of the bullet casings. The casing belonged to a 40-caliber gun.

Officials believe the bullet casings may belong to the CHP officer. Across the road, more evidence was discovered. The officer may have hit the suspect.

"It's believed he may have hit the vehicle or hit something at least one time," said Amormino.

Investigators are now trying to determine if the shooter is connected with the suicide of a 43-year-old woman a couple miles away.

The woman jumped from the 57 Freeway overpass at Imperial Highway. Police say three vehicles hit the woman's body, including someone in a light-colored vehicle that did not stop. The vehicle is similar to the suspect vehicle.

"CHP received info that a light-colored vehicle left the scene," said Amormino.

Why the suspect fired at a police officer is not clear. The suspect's description is also vague. Police are not clear whether it was a man or a woman, only that the person tried to kill a cop.

If you have any information related to this case, you're asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. at (866) TIP-OCSD (866-847-6273).