Slain San Diego police officer described as 'dedicated protector'
At an emotional press conference Thursday, San Diego police and city officials described slain police Officer Christopher Wilson as a man much respected by his peers.
Mayor Jerry Sanders, a former police chief, his voice breaking, said, "Every mayor and police chief dreads a day like today."
Sanders said Wilson routinely was given the highest compliments by fellow officers who called him "good cover" when they needed help.
Police Chief William Lansdowne praised the doctors at Scripps Mercy Hospital who, while knowing that Wilson could not survive, kept him alive long enough so that his family could come to the hospital to see him.
He too praised Wilson: "He's the type of person you want in your city, you want as your neighbor."
Councilman Tony Young said, "The city has lost a dedicated protector," adding that Wilson had served his community with "dignity and respect."
Wilson had served all 17 years on the department in Southeast, the most racially diverse section of San Diego.
Wilson was killed Wednesday night in the Skyline neighborhood, where five suspects were holed up in an apartment. Two of the suspects were killed and three were arrested.
At the time the shots were fired, authorities said there were six San Diego officers inside the apartment. They declined to say how many shots were fired or how the two suspects in the back bedroom died.
Wilson and other officers had gone to the apartment to assist probation officers and U.S. marshals in finding a probationer considered to be harboring a suspect in an assault with a deadly weapon case.
After the probationer was arrested, others in the apartment opened fire, striking Wilson. Police returned fire.
Police then left the apartment, Hours later, a SWAT squad stormed the apartment, using tear gas and a flash-bang grenade.
Before the SWAT assault at about 6:45 a.m., two persons had surrendered. Once inside the back bedroom of the apartment, police found two more persons, dead, with weapons near the bodies, officials said.
In the gunbattle, a San Diego police dog was wounded but survived.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: San Diego police officer Christopher Wilson. Credit: San Diego Police Department