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Police shot out tire to insure safety of officer
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Manteca Police have determined an officer’s shooting out of the tire of a vehicle being driven by an auto theft suspect was in the interest of a fellow officer’s safety.

The motorist driving a stolen vehicle who had an outstanding warrant for auto theft reportedly made aggressive movements with his car toward a Manteca detective’s police unit in an attempt to flee from officers in a motel parking lot at about 8:30 Thursday morning where an officer reportedly shot  out a tire.

The driver who was taken to the San Joaquin County Jail appeared at the Stockton Courthouse Friday afternoon on two outstanding felony warrants and is scheduled to appear at the San Joaquin County Superior Court, Manteca Branch Monday afternoon at 1:30 on the fresh charges including assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, auto theft, being under the influence of a controlled substance, driving on a suspended license and DUI.  

Officer John Moody had fired five rounds from his service revolver into the right front tire of a car driven by Jaimie L. Johnson, 37, of Lathrop, when he feared for his partner’s safety during the alleged vehicle assault with the stolen car in the parking lot of a Manteca motel in the 100 block of Northwoods Avenue.

A witness living at the motel, Don Irvin, said he felt police had no right to be firing a weapon within the motel complex saying the driver of the car had no way to escape because of the lone entrance to the parking lot.

Irvin also complained that officers had arrested the motel manager Ed Hane on Friday suggesting the arrest was the result of his concerned reactions to the officer firing a weapon in the motel parking lot.  Hane was reportedly arrested on a “no bail” San Mateo County traffic warrant for driving on a suspended license.  Irvin claimed that 40 to 50 residents witnessed the event.  A news photographer and a television reporter/videographer were kept away from the scene by those gathered by the motel driveway, witnesses said.

Police countered saying Hane’s arrest had no connection with the Thursday arrest of the driver of the stolen vehicle at the motel on Northwoods Avenue rather they were in the routine process of serving arrest warrants.

Detective Steve Harris and Moody had spotted the stolen car Thursday morning being driven on the street and confirmed that it had been stolen.  Police spokesman Rex Osborn said the officers followed the vehicle occupied by a male driver and a woman passenger as it entered the motel parking lot area.  

Osborn said the officers positioned themselves out of sight to watch for the suspects to come out of the motel and get back into the car.  When the man returned to the vehicle, the detective unit pulled in behind the suspects causing the driver to attempt to back into the unmarked vehicle.   The uniformed officer had already gotten out of the police car and fired his service weapon at the front tire when the driver allegedly ignored their orders to stop moving back toward the detective unit.

Osborn added that the car backed into the police unit with enough force to raise its two rear wheels off the ground.

Johnson and his female companion Amie L. Pfeifle, 29, also of Lathrop, were taken into custody by patrol officer Sean Cavin.  Pfeifle, who had temporarily remained in a motel room, was cited for outstanding traffic warrants and later released from custody.  

Johnson’s two $25,000 (no bail) warrants for his arrest issued by San Manteo County included earlier charges of auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and commercial burglary, police said.  County jail has the option of releasing those with out of county no bail warrant arrests if there is no room in their facility, police said.

Johnson remains in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp with bail set at $159,070.