A Porterville Police Officer fired at a suspect after he accelerated his vehicle at the officer on Thursday.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, Porterville Police received a call regarding a residential burglary occurring in the 700 block of East Cleveland Avenue. Officers arrived on scene and observed an unknown subject flee on foot from the residence. 

At the same time, a vehicle parked in front of the residence determined to being driven by Jose Lemus also drove away at a high rate of speed, leading officers on a pursuit. 

The pursuit led officers on several streets on the east side of Porterville until Lemus drove into the cul de sac of the 500 block of Crestview Circle. As Lemus turned around in the cul de sac, the officers exited their vehicles ordering Lemus to stop; however, Lemus intentionally accelerated directly at an officer who was getting out of his vehicle. 

The officer fired two shots at Lemus just before the vehicle hit the police car driver’s door, knocking the officer back into his patrol car. The officer was treated at the scene by ambulance personnel for minor injuries. 

Additional officers arrived and Lemus continued the pursuit to northbound Main Street from Reid Avenue. Officers attempted to deploy spikes to disable the suspect vehicle; however, Lemus drove around the spikes nearly hitting another officer. 

Shortly thereafter, Lemus drove the vehicle into an orange grove and it became disabled. Lemus fled on foot into the orange grove and a perimeter was set up by Porterville Police Officers and Detectives, with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. During the search of the grove, Lemus was located and apprehended by a Tulare County Sheriff’s K9 and Porterville Police Department Detectives. 

Lemus was transported to Sierra View Medical Center for treatment of injuries resulting from the K9 apprehension. It was determined Lemus wasn’t hit by either of the rounds the officer fired. It was also determined the vehicle Lemus was driving was a stolen vehicle from Lindsay. Lemus was booked into the Tulare County Sheriff’s South County Detention Facility on the following charges: 

one count of burglary, a felony; one count of looting during a state of emergency, a felony; one count of felony evading; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony; one count of possession of a stolen vehicle.

As part of protocol for this type of incident, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office was requested to respond and is conducting the criminal investigation into the incident. The Porterville Police Department is conducting an administrative investigation to ensure adherence to department policy and procedure. In accordance with department policy, the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

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