Santa Cruz, CA – Authorities have released the bodycam video from an officer-involved shooting on Friday that occurred after a woman escaped from handcuffs and tried to kill a deputy (video below).
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart called the footage of the attempted murder of a deputy “chaotic, jarring, and frightening.”
The incident began at about 3:30 a.m. on May 18 while two Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on a routine patrol near Paradise Park at the end of the Ocean Street extension, where they came upon two suspicious parked vehicles, KSBW reported.
Deputies discovered that one of the cars had been reported stolen from San Jose.
They arrested a man and a woman and put them in separate patrol cars in handcuffs, according to KSBW.
"While deputies interviewed the man, the woman was able to slip out of her handcuffs, reach through a partially-opened window, and open the door. The woman then entered the driver's side of the patrol car and, without warning, drove the vehicle directly at one of the deputies, striking him, and damaging both patrol cars," Sheriff Hart said.
The woman, who police have identified as 27-year-old Jessica Lowe, crushed the deputy between the two patrol cars as he screamed in pain.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy August Waltrip ran to the patrol car, opened the driver's-side door, and shot Lowe twice in the chest at point-blank range as she tried to kill the other deputy, KSBW reported.
"In fear for his partner’s life, Deputy Waltrip fired his service weapon two times at Lowe as he opened the driver’s side door," Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sergeant Brian Cleveland told KSBW.
But that did not stop Lowe from trying again to kill the deputy.
The injured deputy collapsed to the ground and was unable to fire his weapon, and Lowe began backing up the patrol car to run over the deputy again, Sheriff Hart explained.
In the bodycam video, Deputy Waltrip fired more than 20 shots at Lowe and the vehicle she was trying to use to murder the deputy she had already wounded.
"Shots fired! Deputy down! Shots fired! Deputy down!" Deputy Waltrip can be heard screaming into his radio in the video.
The video showed Deputy Waltrip telling his partner to stay down, as he fired at Lowe. And then Deputy Waltrip helped move the wounded deputy to a position of cover while they waited for backup to arrive.
Sgt. Cleveland said Lowe finally stopped her vehicular attack and followed verbal commands to get out of the vehicle and down on the ground.
When backup arrived, officers began life-saving measures on the woman who had just tried to kill a deputy.
"Arriving officers began rendering aid to Lowe, who had been struck by three bullets. Officers rendered aid for over 10 minutes before the first paramedics arrived, which likely saved her life," Sgt. Cleveland said.
Sheriff Hart said the injured deputy was transported with non-life threatening wounds and pointed out to KSBW that the outcome could have been much worse.
Chief Deputy Craig Wilson said the two deputies were totally caught off-guard by the attack.
"Police are as vulnerable as anyone in our society. We deal with people who don't want to be caught. We use tools and tactics to reduce threats, but nothing is foolproof. Deputies treat people humanely, and they don't want to put on handcuffs so tight that they hurt. We try to balance caution with compassion, and sometimes it doesn't work. We don't know, sometimes, who is going to kill us. This deputy had no idea that this event was going to happen,” Deputy Wilson said.
Lowe survived the shooting but remains in the hospital recovering from her gunshot wounds, KSBW reported.
A deputy has been assigned to guard her hospital room, according to Sgt. Cleveland.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said Lowe will be charged with several felonies, including attempted murder on a peace officer.
Sgt. Cleveland told KSBW it could be several weeks before she was released from the hospital and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.
Watch the chaotic scene as Deputy Waltrip tries to stop the suspect from running over his partner in the video below: