Update: Car on I-8 Linked to Suspect in Ex-Councilman Harry Mathis Assault

Interstate 8 and local roads were backed up for hours Tuesday night as empty car was checked.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012

San Diego police say the man whose car was found abandoned on the Interstate 8 shoulder Tuesday night is a suspect in the violent home invasion of former San Diego Councilman Harry Mathis.

Mathis, 78, was pistol-whipped with his own gun a month ago at his University City home.

“The [Mathis assailants] were described as three black males, one of which was light skinned, or perhaps two black males and one white male.  They all wore ski masks and were armed; two with handguns, one with a knife,” police Lt. Andra Brown said Wednesday.

During the subsequent investigation, she said, Robbery Unit detectives identified one of the suspects as Harvey Henry Duson, 45.

According to Brown: ”The suspect was thought to be in a disabled vehicle on Interstate 8 in El Cajon yesterday. However, it was later discovered he was not.  The suspect is still outstanding.”

Original story from Feb. 14, 2012:

Countless Valentine’s dates were delayed Tuesday night amid a major freeway backup at rush hour that spilled onto surface streets around La Mesa.

CHP and other officers spent two hours checking out a dark 2011 Pontiac Grand Prix with tinted windows on Interstate 8 inside the El Cajon city limit, wary of a possible home-invasion suspect. Guns were drawn and shields used.

The vehicle was empty, it turned out. Parked on the right shoulder of eastbound I-8, it was the focus of radio and TV reports from about 5 to 7 p.m.

Officers had monitored the car in what was thought to be a standoff with a robbery suspect east of Severin Drive, causing a backup west to College Avenue near San Diego State University.

A home-invasion robbery had occurred in the area and officers were drawn to the abandoned vehicle. Officers, some in bulletproof vests, at one point used the K-9 unit and had their guns trained on the Grand Prix. Whereabouts of the car’s owner is unknown.

U-T San Diego quoted San Diego police Lt. David Rohowits as saying that police had planned to detain the suspect late Tuesday afternoon when he had a scheduled appointment with his parole agent.

“But the man called his agent about 4 p.m. and said that his car had become disabled on the freeway,” U-T San Diego reported. “San Diego police officers then headed immediately to the location on I-8, with the help of El Cajon police and the California Highway Patrol.”

John Gillihan February 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Two hours?!? WTF?!?
Kevin George February 15, 2012 at 07:51 PM
It took a little more time than usual to find a chainsaw. "About 6:20 p.m., a police officer dropped a large tree branch from the top of the wall, smashing the rear window of the car." http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/14/police-activity-east-i-8-la-mesa-area/
Doug Curlee February 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
a job i'm glad i DON'T have..the police spokespeople who have to try to explain why it took that long to figure out the car was unoccupied..during rush hour on a very busy freeway..seems they'd have been a lot better off shutting down the whole freeway for the few minutes it would have taken to break glass, fire tear gas inside, and take them down if necessary.. sometimes you can be just a little TOO cautious..yes, i uinderstand the threat of gunfire.. but i'd say the cops would have had a whole carfull of suspects drastically outgunned.. doug


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