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Police shooter's body found in burned home, authorities say

August 22, 2011 |  8:25 am

Cop critically wounded in El Cajon

Authorities say a man who is believed to have shot an El Cajon police officer and then set a house on fire was found dead inside the home Monday morning.

Neighbors told police that they feared the man had shot his wife and daughter in his home. But the initial search by SWAT officers found only one body, that of the suspected shooter.

The body was found near the entry of the house but identification was not immediately possible due to extensive fire damage, according to El Cajon police.

Lt. Mark Coit said police are sure the alleged gunman did not escape after police from several agencies, responding to an "officer down" call, surrounded the home.

The officer, whose name has not been released, is in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery at a local hospital, Coit said.

Police said that the incident began when a two-officer car arrived at the house on Prince Street shortly after 5 p.m. in response to a call from neighbors about a man brandishing a gun outside the house.

The suspect fired several shots, hitting one officer in the head. The second officer was able to pull him to safety as paramedics were summoned.

The suspect apparently set the house on fire and the one-story structure was quickly engulfed in flames. Firefighters from the Heartland Fire & Rescue, backed by firefighters from San Miguel Fire, kept the fire from spreading to other homes as San Diego Fire Department helicopters dropped water on the burning home.

No motive for the shooting has been revealed but the suspect reportedly was undergoing a divorce.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego


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Photo: Police cars surround the El Cajon home. Credit: Fox 5 San Diego