LIVE OAK – The Sheriff’s Office patrol cruiser slams another marked vehicle, pinning a screaming deputy now recovering from the May 18 investigation in which the driver was shot three times at the end of Ocean Street Extension, according to roughly a minute, 40 seconds of body-camera video Sheriff Jim Hart released Tuesday.
There were two deputies at the scene. One was pinned between the vehicles. The other deputy fired 18 shots from his 9mm service weapon, striking the woman who took over the patrol cruiser as she repeatedly advanced toward both officers.
Jessica Lowe, 27, was shot by a deputy in the chest and abdomen after she slipped from handcuffs, commandeered a patrol SUV and drove into an officer trying to interview a male suspect.
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Hart, during a press conference Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Office, said the injured deputy is getting medical attention and wants to return to work. He said Lowe took control of a vehicle that essentially was a “4,000 pound weapon” she used to hurt an officer instead of fleeing.
“It’s chaotic, it’s jarring and it’s frightening.” Hart said of the video, in which the deputy is screaming for help. Deputy August Waltrip, who was not hurt in the attack, shot at Lowe as she drove back and forth to try to hit the deputies after pinning the man between the two SUVs, Hart said.
Lowe, who remains hospitalized, will be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, vehicle theft, resisting arrest with violence, commission of a felony while released on bail – all felonies – and misdemeanor escape from custody, according to Santa Cruz County Superior Court documents.
Lowe was absent from her scheduled arraignment Tuesday morning. The initial hearing was continued to 8:15 a.m. May 29 in Superior Court.
Deputy Waltrip, who has worked at the Sheriff’s Office three and a half years and has been a patrol officer for about a year, is slated to return to work next week, Hart said.
It was the first officer-involved shooting in unincorporated Santa Cruz County since November 2016, said Chief Deputy Craig Wilson, who serves on the Sentinel Editorial Board.
“These deputies had no warning,” Wilson said.
Sheriff's forensic technicians Tatiana Schlafer and Jen Bachman investigate the crime scene at the end of Ocean Street Extension, where two sheriff's deputies contacted two suspects and shot one of the suspects early Friday morning. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) Sheriff's forensic technicians Jen Bachman and Tatiana Schlafer investigate a shooting crime scene involving deputies and two suspects at the end of Ocean Street Extension early Friday morning. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) Sound The gallery will resume in seconds Sheriff's forensic technicians Tatiana Schlafer and Jen Bachman investigate a crime scene at the end of Ocean Street Extension in Santa Cruz where a deputy shot a woman after she ran one of the patrol vehicles into another officer early Friday morning. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) Show Caption of Expand
Waltrip and another deputy were investigating reports of a stolen vehicle at the end of Ocean Street Extension amid recent concerns about illegal activity in the area, Wilson said.
Deputies found two cars parked in a turnout at the end of the road, one of which was a Honda reported stolen from San Jose, Wilson said. Lowe and a man were standing between the cars when deputies arrived, he said.
The man and woman were placed in handcuffs and questioned in separate patrol cruisers, Wilson said. While Waltrip searched inside the Honda and the other deputy interviewed the man, Lowe escaped from the back seat of a patrol vehicle by reaching through an open rear window and opening the rear door, gaining entry in the driver’s side, Wilson said.
“Possibly, got a lot of stuff to search through,” Waltrip said into his radio just before the attack.
Within seconds, about 3:55 a.m., Lowe drove into the deputy who was interviewing the man. The impact forced the deputy into his vehicle’s back seat, causing significant injuries.
Hart said he will not release the name of the injured deputy, who also went to the ground and was taken behind a tree for protection during the attack.
“Deputy Waltrip did not know if his partner was stuck underneath the car or pinned between the two cars,” according to a release the Sheriff’s Office also issued Tuesday.
After the other deputy was struck, Waltrip shot twice at Lowe as he opened the driver’s side door of the stolen patrol vehicle.
Waltrip ran to the back of the vehicle driven by Lowe and, within a minute and still at 3:55 a.m., was trying to find out what happened to the other deputy, according to the release. The vehicle’s reverse lights illuminated and the SUV headed toward Waltrip, who shot 10 more times at the vehicle.
Then, about 3:56 a.m., the vehicle again accelerated toward the deputies and Waltrip, who had to reload, shot at the vehicle six more times, according to the time-stamped body-camera video.
Waltrip told Lowe to get on the ground, where Lowe remained until other law-enforcement officers arrived a few minutes later. Arriving officers administered first aid more than 10 minutes until paramedics arrived and she was flown to a trauma center. She underwent surgery.
Wilson said Lowe is expected to survive.
The injured deputy was treated at a hospital, but he will need more medical care.
Waltrip was placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Santa Cruz County deputy shoots woman after she drives patrol cruiser into fellow officer
Hart previously said the deputies performed their duties professionally.
“They did a good job and there is not much more than I can ask of them nor should the community ask of them in a situation like this,” Hart previously said. “They did what they had to do in order to survive this case.”
Lowe was charged in 2017 with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. In that case, she pleaded not guilty in November and was released March 16, according to court documents. Her next hearing in that case is slated for 9 a.m. June 4 in Superior Court.