Police Action In Moraga; Search For Gunmen Winds Down; Pinned Down East Bay Regional Park Officer Extracted By Special Weapons Team

Area police called off search for a group of men who exchanged gunfire with an East Bay Regional Park police officer Monday evening.

Numerous police agencies — including Lamorinda departments, Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies and East Bay Regional Park police — called off their search Monday for several individuals who reportedly opened fire on a parks police officer, at least one of them with a  semi-automatic weapon.

The unidentified officer, who was on foot patrol in the Upper San Leandro Reservoir area when he encountered the group about 6:45 p.m., returned fire when fired upon by the group. At least one man was carrying what appeared to be an SKS or AK-47-type assault rifle, police said. The EBRPD officer took cover and waited for help in the form of their armored car, which rolled into the area and picked him up at 8:17 p.m. The officer was not injured in the exchange of gunfire.

It was not known if any of the individuals he fired on were hit, police said.

Multiple police units — including helicopters and an armored car —were deployed to the area and residents reported an extremely heavy police presence as officers attempted to set up a perimeter in the brushy terrain. The search for the gunmen was terminated at 9:55 p.m. but is expected to continue this morning.

East Bay Regional Park Police Capt. and former Moraga Police Chief Mark Ruppenthal told KTVU News what residents have been talking about for some time, that at least one large-scale marijuana operation is in place in the hills near the reservoir and that pictures of a group of armed men guarding the crop have been taken by police observers.

Residents may remember a bizarre incident in April in which a member of a work party repairing a fence on Quail Crossing Road near Rancho Laguna was reported shot and critically injured. That man was treated for "serious" abdominal injuries but no explanation for the incident was ever given.

It is unknown if that incident and Monday's incident are related. 

Tina Chambers July 27, 2011 at 05:27 PM
@Mike - you are welcome.
Tina Chambers July 27, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Scott, thanks, and sorry to hear of your neighbor's incident as well. But, please, you continue to be misguided in your assessment. One officer in particular who responded is not even in this photo - and you continue with this "judge a book by it's cover" proof of your opinion. If I subscribed to the judgement you have, which reads as on looks alone, you continnue to be wrong about more than who you list. Also, MPD should be patrolling for speeders, it is a huge problem. And while you may catch a glipse of PD at these locations you seem to deem not appropriate, I can tell you they are patrolling. I just left to get my son at 10, and there was a car in Camino Woods area. So, please, once again, opinion supported by facts.
J.D. O'Connor July 27, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Gentle Readers - Please refer to our "Pool Rules" for playing in our Comment Stream: http://patch.com/A-kfFH Please remember that Monday's incident is under investigation by the East Bay Regional Park District police, NOT Moraga PD. Although Moraga played a supportive role that night (all Lamorinda departments support each other during scenarios such as this one), it is NOT their case. Picking at someone, be it an officer or anyone else, for a perceived weight problem strikes me as - what would reader Chris Nicholson call it - snarky? I am not here to censor anyone, it is counter to our Free Speech ethic. But at the same time these posts seem at least a bit off topic and, in my opinion, distasteful. While the readiness of police officers hired by the citizenry to protect and to serve is certainly a fair topic of discussion I don't see anyone benefiting from posts promoting ancient stereotypes - of anyone. And remember, if you see a post you think violates our guidelines for posting, please remember to FLAG it, so I can get a look at it that much more quickly. Due to the number of posts on our stories it can be difficult to find and evaluate a single one. Okay? Thanks! Editor
Congodog July 27, 2011 at 07:44 PM
JD, A PhD thesis awaits some soul who might dig in and analyze the depth and breadth of the quirkiness and extremes of this 'affluent' community. Forming personal opinions, even political ones, is critical to the democratic process. When folks make it their responsibility to leave the world of 'suggestion' and move into 'declaration' is when the process begins to break down. I was appalled by the numbers and behavior of the "Lookie-Lous" as you call them. Let the police do their work. When the potential for deadly violence is present as it was the other night, the most supportive thing to do is stay the hell away. These incidents are rare and the local coppers are understandably a bit rusty and their adrenaline is flowing, so back off and head for the Patch for updates. JD, I must say you have done an extraordinary job of keeping us aware and informed and as someone that relies more and more on the ether for my news, the Patch is amazingly good and your leadership excellent. CDog
J.D. O'Connor July 27, 2011 at 08:01 PM
CDog - PhD indeed. With deadline pressure eased I am hoping to take steps to reinforce the concept of personal responsibility for the comments our neighbors post to the site. I've noticed that many in the community connect all comments made on Patch TO Patch directly, and would like to say here and now that people are free to express themselves within reason, but that they do not speak FOR Patch. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to bring that up. Best, JD


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