Manhunt: News 8 investigation into deputy shooting suspect

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Despite an hours-long SWAT standoff in Spring Valley Wednesday, 37-year-old Ray Pitoau remains on the run Thursday.

The victims suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in the shooting, which occurred at 1:17 a.m. Monday in the 500 block of Island Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Philpot was walking with a group of people, including two off-duty Escondido police officers, when a long-haired man armed with a pistol confronted them.

The deputy tried in vain to wrest away the weapon, and during the struggle it repeatedly discharged, wounding him three times in the shoulder, San Diego police Officer John Buttle said. A man walking nearby was injured in an arm by an apparent stray round.

Philpot was released Tuesday from the hospital.

On Thursday, Choper The Biker Dog visited Officer Philpot.

Pitoau is Samoan, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 225 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, police said.

Pitoau has a distinguished “SD” tattoo on his upper right chest. He was wearing black shorts and a long-sleeved shirt at the time of the shooting.

Pitoau is considered to be armed and dangerous. He may have been with a companion at the time of the fracas, according Servin, although he stressed Pitoau being the main focus.

Anyone with information on Pitoau’s whereabouts is asked to call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or San Diego Crime Stoppers Anonymous Tip Line at (888) 580-8477.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

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