Police seek suspect in collision that caused accidental gunfire by officer

A police officer's weapon fired when a fleeing auto thief's open car door struck the officer in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood Saturday morning, a police spokesman said.

The incident occurred around 10:40 a.m. near the intersection of Montgomery and Broadway streets after the officer approached the driver of a parked stolen vehicle, police Officer Albie Esparza said.

Upon seeing the officer, the suspect began to drive away, Esparza said. A car door was ajar, and the force of the vehicle accelerating caused it to fly open, hitting the officer and causing the officer's weapon to fire a round, he said.

Esparza said he initially learned that a patrol car may have been hit, prompting the officer to fire a round, but later learned that wasn't the case.

The officer was unharmed in the incident, which is being investigated by the police department's Internal Affairs unit, the department spokesman said.

Officers later recovered the stolen car nearby in the 700 block of Clay Street. Police found that the vehicle had been punctured by a bullet but no evidence of any injuries, Esparza said.

Police are still attempting to locate the suspect.

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