VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — Police officers told a dispatcher during a chase that their confrontation with a gunman in body armor at a California Starbucks was an ambush, saying they looked up during their break to see a man pointing an assault rifle at them through the glass front of the shop.
The two police officers escaped injury in the Sunday encounter in Vallejo because the attacker’s assault rifle jammed, preventing him from firing a shot, police Chief Andrew Bidou has said.
Police-dispatch recordings obtained by The Mercury News (http://bayareane.ws/2dxUgM0 ) convey the surprise in one officer’s voice as the two policemen sprinted after the gunman, shooting and wounding him.
“We had a man with a rifle just tried to ambush us at Starbucks,” one of the two officers said in the recording.
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“We saw him and he came up to the glass and pointed the rifle at us, and it jammed, I think. And he took off running,” the officer added later.
Police caught up with the gunman a block from the coffee shop and shot him three times.
The attacker, identified by police as Adam Powell, 41, remained hospitalized Tuesday and is expected to survive, police Lt. Jeff Bassett said. Prosecutors expect an arraignment this week.
Bidou has called it an “attempted assassination” of the two officers.
It marked the latest attack on police across the country, including two other attacks in California in recent weeks that killed a total of three law-enforcement officers.
Police in Vallejo said Powell had passed by the Starbucks six minutes earlier, apparently planning the attack. He wore what authorities described as police-style body armor and also carried a second weapon, a loaded handgun, police said.
Six hours before that confrontation, police responding to a shooting in Suisun City, 20 miles away, found Powell’s 2-year-old son critically wounded in a family home. Powell was not there when police arrived, and other relatives told police the child had accidentally shot himself.
Police want to question Powell about the boy’s shooting and about the confrontation with police in Vallejo.
Police said they did not know if Powell, who had a felony record of robbery and drug offenses, had expressed any anger toward police.
Powell’s step-daughter, Breauna Bower, told San Francisco television station KGO-TV that Powell may have been trying to end his life by having police shoot him after seeing his son hurt.
However, Bassett, the Vallejo police spokesman, rejected that possibility.
“Objectively, it doesn’t fit the facts,” he said, acknowledging that Powell came with two loaded weapons and body armor, and fled after the rifle malfunctioned.