Police officer and passenger on ride-along come under barrage of gunfire in Central California

A search is underway for a shooter who sprayed gunfire at a Madera, Calif., police officer and a passenger during a ride-along on Sunday.

The officer was not injured; the passenger suffered some minor cuts from broken glass during the shooting, according Lt. Gino Chiaramonte of the Madera Police Department. On Monday, police said detectives were continuing their investigation into the shooting that was captured on a dash camera inside the police cruiser.

“We are thankful and blessed that both the officer and civilian were not injured,” Chiaramonte said. “The officer’s decisive actions prevented the civilian ride-along from being seriously injured. The officer demonstrated a very cool demeanor for such a short time with the department.”

The footage shows the officer following a white Mazda, which he tried to stop about 4:34 a.m. on Howard Road at Schnoor Avenue. But the driver doesn’t stop and speeds through a residential neighborhood, blowing through stop signs.

At one point, the passenger says, “He is not stopping. You’re kidding me.”

As the officer follows the speeding car, the passenger screams, “He has a gun. No, no, no, no, no.”

That’s when the officer reports shots were fired.

Seconds later, about nine shots were fired at the officer’s vehicle.

Several other shots were heard as the officer pulled over and the passenger sobs.

“Are you OK?” the officer asks the passenger.

The officer then speeds up and reports that he was “taking fire.”

Police said 13 shots were fired and three rounds struck the police cruiser. Two of the shots pierced the windshield.

The officer was forced to stop following the driver because his patrol cruiser was disabled, according to Chiaramonte.

Investigators later found the abandoned Mazda a few blocks away. Officers also found a AR-15-style pistol, police said.

The new officer had been recently released from training. This was his second week working solo.

Anyone with details about the shooting is urged to call Sgt. Johnny Smith at (559) 675-4291.

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