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Suspect gains access to front of police car, fires officer’s patrol rifle through windshield

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A standoff began in Orange County when a mental health patient who was sitting in the back of a Garden Grove police car was able to access the front of the vehicle, take possession of the officer’s patrol rifle, and fire a shot through the front windshield of the car.

The officer had been called to assist Morningside Recovery mental health professionals while they evaluated the male subject.  Morningside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment facility.

The mental health worker determined that the subject needed to be transported to another facility and called for an ambulance transport.  The individual was then asked to sit in the back of the police car while waiting for the ambulance.  The male subject was not handcuffed and was not under arrest when he was placed in the back of the police car, according to the Garden Grove PD press release on the incident.

It was then that the subject was able to access the front of the car and take possession of the officer’s patrol rifle.  “The suspect fired a single round from the rifle and it went through the front portion of the windshield. No gunshots were fired by police officers,” according to Garden Grove PD.

SWAT and Crisis Negotiators as well as other officers responded to the scene with three armored vehicles and surrounded the suspect.

After several hours, the suspect surrendered.

According to Garden Grove police:

The suspect was arrested for discharging the weapon and was booked at Orange County Jail. Supervisors
at the police department will investigate how the suspect was able to gain access to the patrol rifle. At
this point, it is unknown if the locking mechanism for the rifle failed or if the suspect somehow was able
to trigger the release of the weapon. Detectives and Crime Scene investigators will collect and evaluate
evidence.

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