A Highway Patrol officer is hospitalized with critical injuries and a suspect is dead after a morning shoot-out on Interstate 680.
The shooting happened around 8:20 a.m. on southbound Interstate Highway 680 just north of Livorna Road in the Alamo.
The suspect and a CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, a seven-year veteran of the department out of the Contra Costa County area, were both shot and critically injured and were taken to John Muir Medical Center. The suspect is now deceased, Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
Lee said the suspect, who was driving a Jeep-style vehicle, pulled out a gun and began shooting at the officer during a traffic stop. A second CHP officer fired at the suspect, hitting him. Authorities have not released the name of the deceased suspect.
Lee said investigators are still trying to confirm the chain of events, including what prompted the officers to pull over the suspect in the first place. He said he is not aware of any outstanding warrants for the Jeep's driver.
CHP Sgt. Diana McDermott said the officer was critically injured taken to John Muir Medical Center. At a press conference outside the hospital, McDermott said she appreciated the public's concern.
"We are family and the community is part of that family as well," she said. "This is a situation where we all take an oath not to swerve from the path of duty. As you can imagine, it's difficult."
Shortly after the incident, an alert was issued for a second vehicle that may have been involved in the shooting. Authorities located the Nissan Maxima in question in Danville and interviewed the driver, who was cleared of any connection to the shooting. The 35-year-old Oakley resident was involved in a traffic stop around the time of the shooting.
Because the shooting happened during the morning commute, there were a number of eyewitnesses who stopped near the scene to provide authorities with information, Lee said.
He also said the shooting was recorded by a camera attached to the dashboard of one of the CHP patrol cars, and that investigators will be
reviewing the footage.
"Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming process," he said.
The incident is being investigated by the CHP, the sheriff's office and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.
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Traffic in the area was at a standstill during most of the morning commute and into the afternoon. The sheriff's office is leading the investigation into the shooting and has reopened northbound and the two left lanes in the southbound direction. The three remaining southbound lanes are expected to reopen by 7 p.m., according to the CHP.
"No one's moving," said 19-year-old Kayla McGowan, of Oakland, who got stuck in the gridlock as she was headed to a class at Diablo Valley College Tuesday morning.
Shortly before 10 a.m., she was stopped on southbound I-680 near the where the shooting happened, and could see the yellow crime scene tape up ahead.
She said she had been in traffic for an hour and had missed her class. McGowan said motorists were getting out of their cars and socializing.
"Everyone's parked, just outside hanging out," she said.
According to Caltrans, 180,000 vehicles travel the San Ramon Valley stretch of freeway daily, with a peak of 14,000 vehicles per hour during the commute.
The Express will have more on this story as it develops.