Police arrested a local man at around noon Thursday after vehicle pursuit that involved a gunshot fired toward a deputy and ended with a standoff, authorities said Thursday afternoon.
The incident started around 11:30 a.m. Thursday when a sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull over suspect Rafael Rojas in an area near Veterans Memorial Park, said Sgt. Don Pershall with the Hollister Police Department. Pershall didn’t immediately have an age for Rojas.
When Rojas failed to stop, a chase ensued and ended at the 1300 block of Marne Drive, Perhsall said. There, Rojas and police had a standoff that lasted 20 to 25 minutes and involved 15-20 officers, Pershall said. Those officers were from the HPD and sheriff’s office.
The pursuit went around residential areas.
“During that time, a shot was fired. We’re not sure at this point if that was directed at the deputy or accidental or exactly what the circumstance was,” Pershall said.
“He was holding a firearm during the entire standoff,” Pershall told San Benito Live. “And so, we successfully negotiated with him to eventually drop it. During that time, a less than lethal round was deployed. It was deployed and he was hit with the less than lethal round, but he was not affected by it.”
Pershall went on: “All we know is there was a shot fired and there was a loose round.”
A less than lethal round is a sort of bean bag fired as a way to stun a suspect for an arrest. If someone is on drugs or really high on adrenaline, he or she could withstand a hit and continue being physical, Pershall said.
Since Marine Drive is directly in front of Veterans Memorial Park, the police department cleared out the park during the standoff.
“It was determined that if we had to discharge weapons, there may be a possibility people could be endangered in that area,” Pershall said.
The sergeant said the suspect was taken to Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital for treatment of the bean bag hit before going to jail. It’s unclear what motivated the reaction from Rojas.