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San Diego police release video of officer-involved shooting in Chollas Creek

Jesus Morales, 35, suffered at least two bullet wounds during the exchange of gunfire near Colina Del Sol Park and was treated at a hospital
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department Thursday released video footage of the police shooting of a suspect during a gunfire exchange that followed a brief chase through a Chollas Creek-area neighborhood.

On Tuesday, police identified the officer as Justin Hibbard, who shot suspect Jesus Morales on Sept. 28. Hibbard joined the force in January, and is assigned to the department's field training administration, according to Lt. Jud Campbell.

The six-minute, 48-second video is posted on the SDPD's YouTube channel.

Morales, 35, suffered at least two bullet wounds during the exchange of gunfire near Colina Del Sol Park and was treated at a hospital, according to the police department.

According to the video, Morales was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm and narcotics possession. Morales also had an active warrant for his arrest, police said.

Morales has been arraigned on the charges, Campbell said. Morales is being held in the San Diego Central Jail, with bail set at $3 million, according to booking information on the county Sheriffs Department's website.

When the SDPD's homicide unit completes its investigation of the shooting, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office will review it to determine if the officer bears any criminal liability for his actions.

The SDPD's Internal Affairs Unit will investigate to determine if there were any policy violations, while the Shooting Review Board will evaluate the officer's tactics, Campbell said.

The Commission on Police Practices is also reviewing the shooting, Campbell said.

Both the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office will monitor the police investigation, Campbell said.

The events that led to the shootout, which injured no officers, began at about 5:40 p.m. Sept. 28, when patrol personnel tried to pull over the motorcycle Morales was riding in the 5300 block of Lea Street for having an obstructed license plate.

Morales allegedly failed to yield and fled for several blocks before crashing the motorcycle in the 5300 block of Wightman Avenue, Campbell said. Morales then allegedly ran off and the officers gave chase.

A short distance to the north, at the intersection of Shiloh Road and Rex Avenue, he allegedly pulled a handgun and shot at least one round in the direction of the closest officer, prompting the officer to return fire.

On the video, an officer can be heard at one point yelling, "Shots fired, shots fired" to a dispatcher.

According to the SDPD video, Morales "fired at least one shot," and Hibbard then "discharges his service weapon multiple times."

Later in the video, an officer is heard yelling at Morales, who is seen lying on the ground and bleeding.

Morales at one point is heard saying, "I can't move my leg."

The video features a body-worn camera still image that, according to SDPD, shows Morales facing Hibbard and firing his handgun, and Hibbard diving out of the way.

According to the video, Morales fired his weapon -- described as an unregistered "ghost gun" -- at least once and then tossed it onto the roadway after it jammed.

WATCH RELATED: Suspect shot by San Diego police officer in Chollas Creek