Injured Fresno Officer in Stable Condition

February 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Veteran Fresno Police Officer Rudy Ruiz was flat on the ground and initially unconscious. A frantic fellow officer was seen shouting, "Get a medic up here, now! I need a medic!"Chief Jerry Dyer said Ruiz had positioned his bike ready to stop the BMW that officers tried to pull over minutes earlier near Belmont and Weber. Dyer said, "Out of nowhere the suspect appeared in that vehicle struck the side of his motorcycle, knocking him off the motorcycle."

Dyer said 39 year old Samuel Velasquez had been trying to pick up a prostitute. After police say he slammed into Officer Ruiz, Velasquez crashed his car, got out and ran into Stefanelli Distributors. When employees there warned officers Velasquez had a knife they surrounded the business.

But Dyer says Velasquez sneaked up on officers from a balcony 10 feet above them, now carrying a different weapon. "The suspect was armed with a two and a half foot metal pipe and he began to swing that pipe while officers below him. It was at that time that officers fired a taser at suspect and four others fired their department weapons at the suspect."

Velasquez fell from the platform, medics believe from being tasered, because they didn't find any bullet wounds on him. He was immediately taken into custody.

A few blocks away, Officer Ruiz had to wait a little longer for help. Dyer says his ambulance went to the wrong place because of confusion over the two different scenes. His injuries are not life threatening. "He is in good spirits, very shaken up and he is very fortunate to be with us today. If not for God's grace I don't know that the motor officer would be with us."

The chief says Velasquez had three outstanding warrants for a suspended license and DUI. He's charged with felony hit and run and could face more charges including assault with a deadly weapon.

A police spokesman told me Officer Ruiz has serious tendon and ligament damage to his knee that will require surgery.

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