SAN FRANCISCO (WJZ/AP) — A San Francisco police officer was hospitalized in critical but stable condition Saturday after being shot in the head while responding to reports of man making threats at a shopping center, authorities said.

Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin said the officer is expected survive but that the gunshot wound caused partial paralysis on one side of his body.

A close family friend tells CBS San Francisco that the injured officer is Kevin Downs and has been on the force for two years.

“One centimeter down and this may have been a fatality for the officer,” Chaplin said. “He underwent surgery to remove fragments from his brain.”

Several officers went to the Lakeshore Shopping Center in the Sunset District Friday night after receiving a call about a man making a disturbance there, police spokeswoman Giselle Talkoff said.

When officers encountered the man, he fired several shots, striking one in the head before fleeing toward the nearby Stern Grove park.

Talkoff said the officer’s partner rendered aid as other officers searched for the man. When he was spotted coming out of the bushes, officers chased after the suspect and shot him.

Talkoff said he went down but wouldn’t drop the gun and refused to surrender. Police distracted him with flash-bang grenades and were able to arrest him.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, was hospitalized Saturday in critical condition.

Mayor Ed Lee said Downs was alert when he visited him at San Francisco General Hospital.

“He was able to communicate with me and I had a chance to thank him for his service,” Lee said. “I have a good feeling that this officer will recover.”

According to SFGate, Downs attended Mount St. Mary’s here in Maryland. The school’s website states that he was a business major and played on the lacrosse team.

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