O A K L A N D, Calif., Jan, 12 -- An undercover police officer who hadcornered a fleeing suspect was shot and killed by fellow officers,Oakland Police Department officials said today.
Officer William Wilkins, who had been with the police force forseven years, was shot around 11 p.m. Thursday and died at HighlandHospital early today.
At a somber news conference, Lt. Paul Berlin of the OaklandPolice Department said Wilkins, 29, was on a drugstakeout and was not in uniform when he spotted a stolen carspeeding by.
Berlin said Wilkins caught the alleged car thief near the SanLeandro border with Oakland. Wilkins was holding the suspect atgunpoint in a driveway when the two uniformed officers arrived.
At least one officer opened fire, and Wilkins was hit severaltimes in the upper torso, Berlin said. He added that 11 shellcasings were found at the scene. Berlin did not know if Wilkinsreturned the fire.
The two officers, who have been on the force for lessthan a year, tried to revive him. They were both were extremely traumatized by the incident, Berlin said.
It was unclear how Wilkins knew the car was stolen,or why the two officers were apparently unaware that an undercoveroperation was taking place in the area. Investigators are checkingradio tapes, he said.
The alleged car thief is in custody and could face a murdercharge in Wilkins' death, Berlin said.
Wilkins, who had been on the Oakland Police force for sevenyears, leaves a wife and 10-month-old son.
"Our sympathy goes out to the family," said Oakland MayorJerry Brown, who attended the news conference. "This is the kindof tragedy we hope never happens."