Man arrested for shooting West Covina police officer in gunfight

- The man suspected of shooting and wounding a police officer in West Covina last Friday was arrested in La Puente by a sheriff's SWAT team Thursday morning and taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds he suffered in last week's gunbattle, the sheriff's department reported.

The suspect, 47-year-old Jose Chavez, was taken into custody by a team from the Special Enforcement Bureau just after 2 a.m. in the 1200 block of Foxworth Avenue, said Deputy Trina Schrader.

"Our detectives developed information that Chavez was hiding in a house in La Puente," Schrader said. "Detectives got a search warrant and went to the house this morning where they arrested him without incident."

Chavez, she added, was then taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered in Friday's officer-involved shooting. He will be booked later on a charge of attempted murder of a police officer, Schrader said.

A $20,000 reward approved by the city of West Covina was offered for information leading to his capture and conviction. Schrader said she didn't know if anyone would qualify for it.

West Covina police Officer Kenny Benitez, who Chavez allegedly shot, has been released from a hospital. He was shot in the upper body about 11:20 p.m. Friday near the intersection of North Yaleton Avenue and Badillo Street, authorities said.

"Chavez fired numerous rounds at the officer as the officer attempted to detain him," said Deputy Sara Rodriguez of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.

According to sheriff's homicide detectives who are assisting West Covina police with the officer-involved shooting investigation, the wounded Benitez had "contacted" a man riding a bicycle. That contact led to a gunfight between the officer and the cyclist, which left the officer wounded, according to Deputy Trina Schrader.

There has been no word on what led to the escalation after the initial contact was made by Benitez, or why Benitez initially stopped the man.

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