Calif. Officer Critical Following Shooting

An El Cajon police officer was shot in the neck on Sunday as gunfire came from a house where a large fire broke out soon after.


EL CAJON, Calif. -- Authorities are trying to determine whether a body found in a burned San Diego County home is that of a gunman who shot and critically wounded an El Cajon police officer.

Police received reports that two people were also shot inside the house but they have not been able to confirm them, Coit said. Police are currently searching for the suspect, Kevin Collier.

According to a family friend, Collier shot and killed his mother-in-law, Beverli Rakov, and his 1-year-old daughter. The friend added that Collier's wife, who is safe, recently filed for divorce.

10News found what appears to be the Facebook page of Collier's estranged wife, Alyssa.

10News confirmed with a family friend that Alyssa Collier used to work at Cheetah's strip club in San Diego but her latest job listing on Facebook is "full-time wife and mom." Her job description says "I plan to sit on my butt and take all my ex's money."

Friends told 10News that Kevin Collier may have manipulated the Facebook page.

On Sunday, the violence erupted after two El Cajon police officers responded shortly after 5 p.m. to a caller who said he saw a man with a gun who had started a fire, police lt. Mark Coit said. One of the first two officers who responded was hit by gunfire that came from the house, he said.

The other officer, who was not injured, pulled the wounded officer to a safety, Coit said. The wounded officer was stable and alert after arriving at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Coit said, and later underwent surgery. His name was not released.

After the shooting the fire surged out of control, and firefighters with police protection and aid from a water-dropping helicopter put it out at about 7 p.m., Heartland Fire spokesman Sonny Saghera said.

Several homes in the area were evacuated and eastbound Interstate 8 was shut down while the fire burned. The freeway was reopened after about 90 minutes.

A SWAT team surrounded the house for much of the night, but turned the scene over to detectives when they determined it was safe, Coit said.

After the burning house was doused by firefighters, a police SWAT team entered and found a man's body near the front door.

Police haven't confirmed it's the gunman but they don't believe he ever left the home.

"We will continue to investigate until we have definitely determined where he is, or whether he perished in the fire or got out," Coit said.

Witness Dave Lembcke said he saw everything from the moment Collier pulled up to the home in a truck.

"He pulled out a gun and he didn't run across the street but he walked real fast," he said. Moments later, Lembcke said he saw Collier return to the truck.

"He went back to his truck," Lembcke said. "He got something else and it didn't look like a gun but it was something kind of shaped like one and went back in."

Officers from San Diego, National City and Chula Vista, and deputies from the Sheriff's Department were also at the scene to assist.

Neighbor Pam Gatar who lives about a block from the scene said she was outside when she heard officers exchange fire with the suspect.

"We were walking towards the corner, and we start hearing gunshots, and we don't understand why," Gatar said. "There had to have been at least 15, 20 shots fired. Then we saw the police."

Richard Ogunsalu, who lives in the same complex as Gatar, was in the shower when he heard sirens and ran outside to see police everywhere and the house burning.

"I saw about 30 police cars, it was like martial law in the streets, man," Ogunsalu said. "There was black roaring smoke in the sky, it was crazy, it just kept coming up. It was like a movie man, it was surreal."

Ogunsalu said he saw a pedestrian praying over the downed officer.

"There's some good people out here," he said.

On Friday, someone posted a Craigslist ad for an "Everything must go" yard sale at the same home on Prince Street.

The ad reads, "Everything you need for your kitchen and more. Name your own price. I just want the stuff gone."

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