STOCKTON, CA - Police always say there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop, and what happened in front of August Knodt Elementary School Wednesday night bears that out.
A multi-agency anti-gang task force pulled over a silver Nissan around 6:15 p.m. near 3939 EWS Woods Boulevard.
The four men in the car ran from the scene and onto the school's campus. One of the suspects, armed with an assault rifle, opened fire on officers, Stockton police said.
"They were like pow, pow, pow!" witness Fernando Ambriz said. "I just heard gunshots, like 15 at a time."
One of the four suspects was hit by return police fire and taken to the hospital.
Police quickly took two other suspects into custody.
"We learned there was another suspect on the roof," Stockton officer Joe Silva said. "We called in a helicopter and our SWAT team."
Police brought in a ladder and a fire department ladder truck to go after the last outstanding suspect.
Two hours after the traffic stop, suspect number four finally came off the roof.
During the police briefing to the media after all suspects were taken into custody, a woman, who had been listening, insisted that the suspects did not fire at police.
"Those kids did not shoot. They might have got out and ran, but they did not shoot," the woman said. "They did not shoot. Period. [Police] started shooting first."
Stockton police said officers not only recovered the assault rifle, but also a handgun. Investigators said they've also recovered shell casings that prove that this truly was a gun battle.