ELK GROVE, Calif. (CBS13) — Authorities are offering few details about how a suspect was shot inside the back of a police cruiser early Sunday morning.
The Elk Grove Police Department said they received a call from a woman shortly after 2 a.m. reporting that her husband had been drinking and had attacked her.
“We got into a little argument, I called for help,” said Nicole Hesselbien.
Police said Hesselbien told them 32-year-old John Hesselbein had assaulted her earlier in the evening and then tried to smash in her car windows when she pulled into the driveway of their home on the 8600 block of Callippe Way.
After initially refusing to cooperate with authorities, John surrendered to Elk Grove officers.
When the suspect became belligerent and loud while restrained in the back of a patrol car, officers opened the door to subdue him. For reasons that police have not released, one of the officers fired a single round from his department-issued rifle, cutting a gash in the suspect’s face.
“He was handcuffed, he didn’t have a weapon, he wasn’t violent,” Nicole said. “I was standing, watching the whole thing. He was fidgety, he wouldn’t listen. Is that a reason?”
Elk Grove authorities said an initial investigation shows the officer did not fire the gun on accident.
“At this point, we’re not sure what the officer perceived and hopefully during the investigation we will get more information,” said Officer Chris Trim.
Nicole said she is relieved her husband was not seriously injured during the incident.
“[The officer] could have caused me to lose my husband, my family would be torn apart,” she said.
The officer, a three-year veteran of the force, is on administrative leave while authorities investigate the incident.
John Hesselbein is facing domestic violence charges and other charges stemming from an alleged assault on an officer at the hospital.