SAN DIEGO – San Diego police shot and killed an armed 17-year-old driver during a traffic stop Saturday night in which he reportedly backed his SUV into a patrol car. Police said officers saw the vehicle run a stop sign at Pyramid and Kenwood streets in the southeastern community of Emerald Hills about 10:45 p.m. They turned around and found the driver had pulled into a home’s driveway about a block away on Bollenbacher Street.
As officers approached on both sides, one saw what appeared to be a gun on the passenger seat and yelled to his partner, who grabbed at the driver’s wrists. Police said the teen pulled his hands free, shifted the SUV into reverse and crashed into the squad car. The vehicle then was driven forward and both officers opened fire. Police said the SUV struck a garage door, backed up and drove forward again, turning toward an officer before finally crashing into a parked car.
The county Medical Examiner’s Office identified the youth as Noe Rojas of Mexico. He died at the scene about 11:15 p.m. Rojas apparently had been visiting a brother and cousin who live a few blocks from the shooting. At the house yesterday, the wife of one of Rojas’ cousins said the teen has been living in San Diego’s Normal Heights area for about a year, working construction. The in-law, Zamaida Lopez, 19, said Rojas briefly stopped by his relatives’ Pyramid Street home Saturday night. He may have been intoxicated, Lopez said, adding she didn’t know whether he owned a weapon. Lopez said her in-laws heard about the shooting from neighbors, but police at the scene would not let the teen’s brother, Israel Rojas, see or go near him. Yesterday afternoon, she said the grieving family still knew little about how or why Rojas was killed.