Caln police officer shoots and wounds man after alleged car theft

A Caln police officer shot and wounded a man early Wednesday, after the man allegedly crashed an apparently stolen car into a police cruiser at high speed.

Neither the suspect or the officer was identified by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, but the suspect is reported to have suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh and a broken elbow and was treated for his injuries at Paoli Hospital.

According to details of the incident in a release from the DA’s Office, early Wednesday, at approximately 1:54 a.m., police received information about a stolen vehicle that was located at the Wawa in Downingtown Borough. Later, the suspect who had been driving the stolen vehicle, reportedly stole another car that was parked at the Wawa. Caln police officers attempted to stop the vehicle but the individual refused to stop and fled into a residential neighborhood.

Investigators said that a Caln Township police officer stopped at the intersection of Westerham and Shelburne Road in Caln Township with the intent to deploy stop strips to immobilize the vehicle. As the police officer was retrieving the stop strips from his vehicle, the suspect then reportedly crashed into the marked police vehicle head-on at a high rate of speed, forcing the police car backward approximately 40 yards. The officer, who was positioned behind his police vehicle, had to dive out of the way to avoid impact as he saw the defendant driving directly at him. The officer was showered with debris from the impact.

The suspect’s vehicle eventually came to a rest approximately 50 yards away from the impact. The suspect reportedly got out of the stolen vehicle and began walking away from the officers as they approached. The officers repeatedly shouted commands at the suspect. The officers approached within 15 feet of the suspect when he stopped, allegedly turned to face the officers, reached his hand behind his back, quickly raised his hands clutched together while pointing toward the officers and stated, “I’ll shoot.” One of the officers fired 4 shots from a department-issued firearm, striking the suspect in the right leg. The suspect fell to the ground, according to the DA’s news release.

After being shot, the suspect reportedly stood up and refused to follow directions from the officers on scene. The suspect continued to indicate to officers that he was looking for his gun. He made additional motions towards the officers, reportedly acting as if he had a firearm.

Investigators said the officers, now within arm’s length of the suspect, recognized that he was not holding a firearm and attempted to de-escalate the situation. The suspect allegedly made his way to the passenger door of the stolen car and opened it. One of the officers deployed a taser and brought the suspect under control and he was handcuffed.

The DA’s Office notes that this information is preliminary, pending a full review of all available evidence.

After the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office will provide written findings.

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