SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Officer Kevin Downs and his partner responded to the Lakeshore Shopping Center after security guards reported a man who was threatening customers.
Witnesses say there was a foot chase and then gunfire.
"Two people, a cop and then the other guy was running from this direction that way and then all we heard was shots, like four or five shots and then we heard a scream like officer down really loudly," said Alex Melendez, a witness.
Officer Downs was shot according to the interim police chief, who said the the bullet entered and exited his head.
"He underwent surgery to remove fragments from his brain and he still has partial paralysis on the side of his body from a shot to the head," said SFPD Interim Chief Toney Chaplan.
Downs is a two year veteran of the police force. A friend says he comes from a family that's been dedicated to public service. His father is a retired San Francisco policeman.
"His family has given so much to this city, to this country," said Ben Matranga, a friend of Downs.
Officer Downs helped launch a group called Ranchin' Vets, which is dedicated to helping service members re-integrate into civilian life.
After he was shot, the suspected gunman ran several blocks to Stern Grove. Police cornered him next to the Edgewood, a youth behavioral health center.
"There was various number of pops, and then we saw somebody running through the campus. So we went into our lockdown protocol and got all the kids in the stairways," explained Melek Totah, Edgewood school CFO.
In the end, the man tried to hold off police next a playground. But after an exchange of gunfire, he was injured and eventually taken into custody. Police have not released his name.
He's recovering at San Francisco General Hospital, along with the officer he's accused of shooting.
San Francisco police officer shot in head recovering, but may be paralyzed