A California police officer has been charged with shooting and seriously injuring a fellow officer during a camping trip. The 44-year-old Ontario resident, who was assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division, was taken into custody during the early morning hours of May 3. He is being held at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto. Media reports indicate that his bail has been set at $1 million.
The sequence of events that led to the officer’s arrest began at approximately 1:17 a.m. when deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of a shooting in Apple Valley near the Stoddard Wells Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Deputies say that they arrived to find a 48-year-old man who had suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body. A helicopter was called in to transport the injured man to an area trauma facility. He is expected to make a full recovery. Initial reports reveal that he was also an LAPD officer assigned to the Newton Division.
Deputies say that they quickly identified a man standing nearby as the likely shooter. He was reportedly in possession of a firearm when deputies arrived according to a SBCSD document. A third man at the scene was described in reports as an off-duty LAPD supervisor. The LAPD has assigned investigators from its Professional Standards Bureau to assist the SBCSD.
The penalties for violent crimes like assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder can be severe in California, but prosecutors may be willing to offer favorable sentencing terms to avoid the risks of arguing in front of a jury. During plea negotiations, experienced criminal defense attorneys may cite mitigating factors to encourage prosecutors to adopt a more lenient position. When presented with facts like these, attorneys might point out the defendant’s years of public service and sincere regret over the incident.