FRESNO, Calif. -- A female civilian on a police ride-along in Madera got a frightening introduction to law enforcement work as a suspect shot out the patrol car's windshield during a wild chase.
Madera police said the officer attempted to make a traffic stop early Sunday on Howard Road at Schnoor Avenue when the suspect driving a Mazda SUV sped off around 4:30 a.m. As the suspect weaved through the neighborhood, a passenger in the Mazda reached out the window and shot at the police cruiser, shattering a window and narrowly missing the officer and a civilian passenger, police said.
"I heard a bunch of shots like, 'Pop, pop, pop,'" one witness said. "I got kind of scared because it's not normal for this area."
Damage from the gunfire forced the officer to pull off and police said the Mazda was found abandoned down the street along with a pistol.
The officer was not hurt while the passenger was hit by broken glass but will be OK. The cruiser was hit three times.
Police said the officer had only been with the department for two weeks when the shooting happened.
"It is the stark reality of law enforcement," Lt. Gino Chiaramonte with the Madera Police Department said. "He kept it under control, still had cognitive process and at the same time still thought about his passenger and paid attention to what the suspect was doing."
Authorities are searching for the suspects involved. Anyone with information should contact police at (559)675-4291.