Two Sheriff deputies, one service dog suffer injuries in pursuit

PALA – A fleeing suspect, two sheriff’s deputies and a service dog suffered minor injuries Sept. 15, during a road and foot chase that traveled from the far northern reaches of the San Diego area into Riverside County, authorities reported.

The events that led to the pursuit began about 11 a.m., when deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle parked with two people in it at the Pala Indian Reservation, sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Rowley said.

The personnel detained one of occupants, Emily McClearen, 29, without incident. As they were doing so, however, her male companion – later identified as 45-year-old Richard Freeman – moved into the driver’s seat and drove off, striking a deputy in the process, Rowley alleged.

A chase ensued as Freeman fled to the north at high speed for about seven minutes, crossing into the outskirts of the Temecula area before losing control of the vehicle and crashing it in the 47800 block of Pala Road, the sergeant said.

He then jumped out and scrambled into a heavily wooded area, Rowley said. A deputy running after Freeman was injured while trying to catch up to the suspect in the overgrowth, he said.

Personnel with the San Diego and Riverside county sheriff’s departments and the California Highway Patrol surrounded the thicket, and a service dog was sent in to help find Freeman.

When the canine sniffed out his hiding spot, Freeman began grappling with the animal. As deputies approached, the suspect allegedly pulled a knife and tried to stab the dog, prompting them to join in the fray.

Even after the deputies managed to wrest the weapon away, the combative suspect continued to fight with them until they finally were able to get him into handcuffs, according to Rowley.

Freeman was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered during the pursuit. He was expected to be booked into county jail on various felony charges, including resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer, following his release from medical care.

McClearen was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

The sergeant did not disclose what prompted deputies to approach and seek to detain the suspects in the first place.

9 Responses to "Two Sheriff deputies, one service dog suffer injuries in pursuit"

  1. Fred   September 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    A K-9 officer and a “service dog” are not the same thing.

    • Kim Harris   September 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Fred,
      This story came from the news wire so we will verify and update the story as needed. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. KH

  2. Rezmamma   September 18, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Was driving home with all the kids and got caught between the road block it was pretty crazy seeing officers with assault rifles walking the road, serching rhe brush not knowing exactly what was going dwn kids were terrified holding telling em to duck down low we though for sure a shoot out thankfully we were able to flip around and go thru rainbow into pala. One thing someone shoulda shut the road down like at the top of grade so many casino bus and lots of ppl were literally stuck next to the action like I was …. Coulda been a lot worse the grade was shut down for a few hours.

  3. Joe   September 18, 2017 at 10:46 am

    If he were black he they would of killed him on the spot

    • Me   September 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Don’t you ever tire of race bailing?

  4. Preston   September 20, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Joe, What color is Freeman?

  5. Kim   September 21, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Good job officers! It really angers me to hear of when a suspect attacks the officers especially the K9 officers who are defenseless weapon wise. It’s unclear in the story as to the injuries to the K9 officer? Whatever these two were doing in the car they gambled and lost thinking they wouldn’t get caught. I mean come on what a bunch of fools. Stay indoors and do your activities there not out in public especially if you have warrants. Not the sharpest bunch there so you deserve to be caught. Wishing all the officers injured a speedy recovery. Oh and here’s a thought…take care of your warrants people and this stuff won’t happen or why run cuz you will be caught! I also agree with the prior comment service dog? Or animal? Show some respect to the officer! Two legs or four legs they deserve respect.

  6. Respin   September 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Well I am not so quick to judge people. Why the heck would these officers risk the safety of the public over stupid misdemeanor warrants. And the fact that they didn’t have any probable cause to pull these guys over in the first place is very suspicious. This whole situation should have been avoided by the cops. It is grossly irresponsible to run after someone with a bunch of assault rifles when the suspects were unarmed and did not present a danger to anyone. And the suspects are lucky to be alive. They inky got the holy living crap beat out of them. And for what? Sounds like the only folks who were in danger of being injured for no good reason were the unarmed so called suspects and the public.Would love to know the names of the two officers involved. Whatever happened to cops de-escalating or diffusing a situation? They are just judge, jury, and executioner these days. To heck with having court procedures or due process or even basic common sense. This is ridiculous.

  7. grunt   September 28, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Respin – 1. If he was innocent why run? When you run the cops don’t know why – could be a ton of felony warrants against him. 2. Look again – he used a vehicle to hit a deputy. 3. He pulled a knife against the dog; So he was not unarmed, and a cop and the dog were injured. The only fact you have right is the suspect is lucky to be alive – and that is a stretch,


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