Gunmen open fire on East Bay park officer

Authorities search for gunmen who fired upon an East Bay Regional Park officer

July 25, 2011 11:53:54 PM PDT
East Bay park police are hunting for the gunmen who opened fire on one of their own. Returning fire, the officer was in a fight for his life. It was so intense the officer had to be extricated by fellow officers like a military operation. It happened in a remote area of the East Bay hills.

Authorities don't know how many people they are dealing with, but they believe at least two men fired at the officer. Since then, law enforcement from all across the East Bay were canvassing the area in hopes of finding the gunmen.

According to a captain with the East Bay Regional Park police, men armed with rifles started shooting at the officer who was patrolling the East Bay Municipal Utility District watershed area of the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. That is about 1.5 miles from the entrance of Rancho Laguna Park in Moraga.

The officer was not hit. He did fire back and after he called for help, an armored car went in to retrieve him. Police don't know if the officer's bullets hit the gunmen, but they do believe they were protecting a marijuana grow operation.

"This area has a history of marijuana grows in the area. We have recovered marijuana grows out in the previous years and the officer was patrolling back there. One thing that he does look for are active marijuana grows for this year," said East Bay Regional Park Police Capt. Mark Ruppenthal.

Neighbors were told to shelter in place while the search for the gunmen was going on. That lasted for a few hours, but the search has been called off for the night. Officers plan to be back out on Tuesday to resume the search.