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Anaheim officer shoots, gravely injures suspect during struggle in car

September 25, 2009 |  2:54 pm

An Anaheim police officer making a routine traffic stop early this morning shot a 21-year-old parolee in the head after struggling with the man in his vehicle as he tried to speed away.

Authorities are still sorting out exactly what happened during the wild confrontation shortly after 2 a.m. in the vicinity of Santa Ana and Bond streets. “There’s a lot of speculation at this point,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez, an Anaheim police spokesman.

Martinez declined to release the names of those involved.

He said two officers were involved in the traffic stop. One approached the driver’s door while the other went to the passenger side, where he opened the car’s door and “confronted the driver,” Martinez said.

The driver “took off with the officer in the vehicle. The officer was fighting with the guy,” Martinez said. The officer then shot the driver and the vehicle crashed into a parked pickup.

The driver, who was wanted on a narcotics charge, is in grave condition at UCI Medical Center, Martinez said.

The officer was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Orange County district attorney, which is standard in officer-involved shootings.

-- Mike Anton in Orange County