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Gunman Shoots Highway Officer, Fires Fatal Shot into Eye

July 15, 1996

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) _ A motorist shot a California Highway Patrol officer six times, then stood over the wounded lawman and fired a seventh, fatal bullet into his left eye, authorities said Sunday.

The gunman fled in the officer’s car late Saturday. Police found the abandoned vehicle seven miles away in Anaheim. They arrested a suspect a block away from the car.

Police said they had 35 witnesses to the shooting, some of whom identified the suspect as the gunman. He gave police at least seven different names, CHP Officer Alvin Yamaguchi said.

Authorities were unsure why Officer Donald Burt, 25, stopped the motorist, although the motorist did give him identification indicating that his driver’s license was suspended, CHP Capt. Chuck Lynd said.

Burt was shot with a 9 mm pistol after radioing for a tow truck to take the man’s car, Lynd said.

``The first six (shots) were not injuries that would have been fatal,″ Lynd said. ``They did however, knock the officer down on his back. The suspect stood over him and fired a round into his left eye.″

The shooting occurred in a well-lighted parking lot next to a restaurant, a gas station and a motel just off the Orange Freeway.

``It sounded like someone was banging on the window or hammering a hammer,″ said Kristi Vertican, a waitress at the restaurant.

The murder weapon and Burt’s .40-caliber gun were missing, Yamaguchi said.

Burt had been married three years. His wife is seven months pregnant.

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