SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man who shot and killed a San Diego police officer and wounded another in 2016 was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Jesse Michael Gomez, 60, now phases a penalty phase of trial to determine whether he could face life in prison without chance of parole or the death penalty, although Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed a moratorium on executions.
In July 2016, Gomez shot and killed Officer Jonathan De Guzman, 43, and wounded his fellow gang-unit officer, Wade Irwin, in the throat. Irwin spent nearly a month in the hospital.
Prosecutors said the two were patrolling the Shelltown neighborhood, saw two men acting suspiciously.
Irwin testified that he thought one of the men was someone that he had arrested previously and he said Gomez opened fire on him almost immediately when he stopped to question him, then killed De Guzman as he sat in the driver's seat of the patrol car.
Gomez testified that he didn't realize the car slowly following him was a police vehicle and he thought he was facing gang members who “were going to shoot and kill me” when Irwin asked if he lived in the area.
Prosecutors argued that Gomez shot the officers because he was a convicted felon illegally carrying a gun and he didn't want be sent to jail.
Gomez was shot and wounded by Irwin as he ran after the killing and was captured in a ravine.