At about 5 a.m. on Thursday, February 2, when a Santa Monica Police officer saw a van with two suspicious persons in it in a grocery store parking lot at 1600 Cloverfield Boulevard, he called an undercover unit, which was in the area on robbery suppression detail, to obtain a license plate.The undercover unit followed the van, but lost sight of it near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and 18th Street. Then, traveling south on 17th Street, the officers saw the van in a driveway on the east side of the street. As the police vehicle approached the van, a man emerged from the passenger side holding a gun.The man opened fire on the officers. One round struck the front windshield of the police vehicle. A final round struck the right rear passenger window of the police car. One of the rounds struck the officer who was driving in the right wrist. The officers moved out of the line of fire and called for assistance. When more officers arrived, they established a perimeter, and two suspects were taken into custody without incident. The primary suspect was arrested and booked for attempted murder of a police officer, with a gang enhancement and being an ex-convict in possession of a firearm. He has been identified as Michael Espindola, a male Hispanic, 20 years old, of Santa Monica and a known gang member. Suspect two was not been identified at the time.The injured officer is Walter Ramirez, 25, a four-year veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department. He was treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his right wrist and released.
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