Porterville officer, suspect wounded in exchange of gunfire

A Porterville police officer was shot in the hip and a suspect with whom he exchanged fire was struck four times by bullets late Thursday night at a major intersection in the city, police reported.

The officer was released from Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia early Friday, and the suspect was in stable condition there.

Lt. Dominic Barteau described what happened:

Two officers made a traffic stop at Olive Avenue and Jaye Street about 11:15 p.m. A passenger in the car, 29-year-old Ruben Corrales of Porterville, got out and ran east on Olive. One of the officers gave chase with his partner in pursuit.

The first officer caught up with Corrales at Olive and H Street, where Corrales shot at the officer, striking him near the hip. The officer returned fire, as did the second officer. Corrales was hit four times, in the leg, arm and torso.

Barteau said Corrales and another person in the car, 31-year-old Vickie Monethichack of Porterville, face charges including attempted murder of a police officer and felon in possession of a handgun.

Neither officer was named. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

Corrales is an identified gang member, police said.

He had two misdemeanor warrants for drug charges totaling $150,000 and Monethichack had two misdemeanor warrants for drug and theft charges totaling $600,000 bail.