Officer Eric Bettinger was working the nightshift out west when he heard three or four shots that sounded so close he thought they were coming at him through his patrol car.
Bettinger saw a victim fall to the ground and three suspects run to get into three different vehicles. He instinctively ducked to avoid the bullets in the air, feeling me might be witnessing a murder in progress.
He calmly radioed Dispatch, requested back-up and provided descriptions of the suspects and their three vehicles.
“Officer Bettinger had to choose one of the vehicles to follow that was leaving the scene,” Sgt. Whitman Liu said. “He decided to follow the vehicle that was driving most erratically.”
Liu said when other vehicles arrived, a felony stop was conducted.
“The decision that Officer Bettinger made regarding which vehicle t5o follow turned out to be absolutely correct,” he said. “The vehicle that was stopped belonged to the shooter who had just shot the complainant several times. The shooter was taken into custody without incident.”
Liu, who succeeded in nominating Bettinger to be the HPOU Patrol Officer of the Month, said normally officers arrive after the fact but this officer “was in the midst of a murderous situation” and remained calm and “made great decisions during the course of this incident.”
Liu commended Bettinger for his demonstration of bravery and courage and “actions under fire.”
The Union recognized the officer in its October general membership meeting.