A man who wounded an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and a bystander by opening fire in the Gaslamp District two years ago was convicted of assault with a firearm Thursday in his third trial in the case.
Ray Pitoau, 39, was convicted of two counts of assault with a firearm for the Aug. 7, 2017 shooting that injured Deputy Jason Philpot, who was walking through downtown with his two brothers following a Metallica concert at Petco Park. Also injured was bystander Vladimir Shvets, a passerby in San Diego for a convention.
Pitoau was also convicted of a lesser charge of assault on Philpot’s younger sibling, Joshua, who Pitoau initially got into an argument with on Island Avenue near Sixth Avenue just after 1 a.m.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11.
Pitoau was convicted in a prior trial of three felony firearm possession counts and was sentenced to 27-years-to-life for those convictions. However, both of his previous trials in the case resulted in hung juries regarding the assault charges.
Jason Philpot testified that he tried to wrap his arms around Pitoau and get the gun away, but the defendant was able to pull the trigger, wounding the deputy in the chest and right arm. A second round also passed through his right arm. One of the rounds ricocheted off the sidewalk and struck Shvets.
Prosecutors said Philpot and his group walked past Pitoau when the defendant and Joshua Philpot traded insults.
Pitoau testified that he grabbed a gun in self-defense because a group of men, including Philpot, were advancing on him. He testified that he and Jason Philpot both grabbed onto the gun, leading it to fire as they grappled over the weapon.
Pitoau was arrested about a month later in Mexico.
–City News Service
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