A man who fired an officer’s weapon through the back window of a police cruiser at San Diego police headquarters pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of assault on a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm and firearm possession.
Keith Bergman, 26, who was shot and wounded in the July 5 incident, is slated to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison next month.
Bergman had been arrested earlier that night at a downtown hotel and was sitting inside a patrol SUV that was parked in the underground sally port of SDPD headquarters when he slipped out of his handcuffs, broke a partition between the backseat and front seat, and got his hands on a gun that was inside an officer’s gear bag, according to the San Diego Police Department.
Once officers realized Bergman had a gun, surveillance and body-camera footage released by the department this summer showed several officers draw their firearms and surround the vehicle, while ordering Bergman to drop the gun. The officers later backed away from the cruiser and took cover behind concrete pillars and other vehicles.
Bergman fired a single shot through the rear window of the patrol vehicle and officers opened fire, striking him in the upper body, police said.
No officers were struck by the gun shot fired by Bergman, who later exited the vehicle with the officer’s bag slung over his shoulder and the gun tucked into his waistband.
He tried to open the rear hatch of the SUV, but was unable to do so, then attempted to open the driver’s side door and three rounds were fired in his direction. Surveillance footage shows the shots pierce the windshield of the cruiser as Bergman sticks his head through the SUV’s open window.
The shots send Bergman to the ground, but he tried to open the driver’s side door again, and another shot was fired in his direction.
A police dog was then sent to subdue him and he was taken into custody.
Bergman was hospitalized, then booked into county jail upon release from the hospital.
Three days after the shooting, SDPD identified the officers involved as Timothy Arreola, an eight-year member of the department; Michael Rodriguez, who has been with the SDPD for 10 months; and Paul Yi, who has served with the agency for six years.
–City News Service