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A San Diego police sergeant was hospitalized Sunday after being assaulted while trying to break up a melee in the Gaslamp Quarter, police said.

The sergeant responded with other officers to a fight in progress in the area of Fifth Avenue and F Street around 2 a.m. when he was allegedly hit by a woman, said San Diego police Lt. Adam Sharki. A crowd had surrounded the officers, and at least two officers were assaulted and injured, Sharki said.

Police arrested several people in connection with the incident, including a 22-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer likely to cause great bodily injury, resisting arrest resulting in great bodily injury and resisting an officer with violence.

The sergeant sustained serious injuries and was taken to a hospital. Sharki said the sergeant was admitted, and, as of Monday morning, was still receiving medical care.

The melee was one of several incidents that kept officers in the downtown area busy early Sunday. Just before 3 a.m., officers responded to multiple 911 calls reporting gunfire near Sixth Avenue and F Street.

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Initial reports indicated the suspect was kicked out of a nightclub and — after he exited — fired a handgun toward the crowd, Sharki said.

The man ran off, followed by security, and was met by officers. Officers chased the man back into the same nightclub he was kicked out of, Sharki said. The man got away.

Police recovered a loaded handgun. No gunshot victims were found.

The San Diego Police Officers Association highlighted the incidents on social media and said low staffing levels in Central Division meant a number of calls for service were unable to be answered in a timely manner because it was so busy.

In an interview, Jared Wilson, president of the police union, said Harbor police and San Diego police officers assigned to other areas responded to the Gaslamp Quarter to assist. It is not uncommon, however, for police to request backup from officers assigned to other agencies or areas.

Still, Wilson added that the situation underscores the department’s retention issues, with officers leaving the department for other law enforcement agencies. He has said some of the reasons include the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and better pay within other law enforcement agencies.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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