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Deputies open fire during El Cajon traffic stop, wounding suspect, officer

Police tape at a scene of a shooting on Decker Street in El Cajon where a National City undercover detective was wounded by a sheriff's deputy, Feb. 17, 2022.

A vehicle-theft suspect and a police officer were recovering Thursday from gunshot wounds suffered when two sheriff's deputies opened fire on the alleged thief during a late-night multi-agency traffic stop in El Cajon, authorities said.

The events that led to the gunfire began at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, when undercover detectives with the San Diego Regional Auto Theft Task Force requested assistance from uniformed sheriff's personnel to conduct a stop on a van pulling a stolen trailer, according to the El Cajon Police Department.

A pair of deputies who work out of the sheriff's Lakeside Substation responded, locating the van in the neighboring city and stopping the driver in the 1100 block of Decker Street, ECPD Lt. Randy Soulard said.


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After pulling over, the suspect, later identified as 31-year-old Erik Talavera, allegedly got out of the vehicle with a knife in his hand.

"The deputies gave verbal commands to Talavera, who failed to comply with those commands," Soulard said. "During the confrontation, both deputies discharged their firearms, striking Talavera."

The shooting also left a National City police detective assigned to the task force with a gunshot wound described as minor.

Paramedics took the detective and the suspect to a trauma center, where the latter underwent surgery.


"Talavera is currently in stable condition and is under guard at the hospital for charges stemming from the incident," the lieutenant said late Thursday morning.

El Cajon police were heading investigations into the shooting, Soulard said.

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