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Wife of man killed in police shootout pleads guilty

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Cindy Altamirano Garcia was arrested on Oct. 31, 2012 after her husband was killed in gun battle with San Diego police.

SAN DIEGO — A young woman who took part in a series of armed holdups and assaults with her 40-year-old husband, who died in a Halloween night gun battle with San Diego police, pleaded guilty Thursday to carjacking and assault with a semiautomatic weapon on a peace officer.

Cindy Altamirano Garcia, 19, pleaded guilty as her case was to go to trial. She will be sentenced to 10 years in prison on Nov. 7.

According to previous court testimony, Philip Martin Hernandez, a former Cal Fire firefighter in Blythe who retired in July 2012, started dating Garcia when she was 16. As a result, at the time of his death he was facing charges of sex with a minor, authorities said.

Garcia admitted helping Hernandez in a carjacking in which she held a gun to the driver’s head and threatened to shoot him.

San Diego police officers investigating a series of armed robberies were tailing a white van occupied by the suspects on Oct. 31, 2012, when the driver pulled over on Harbor Drive, near Cesar Chavez Parkway.

Police said Hernandez jumped out of the van and began shooting at officers, who returned fire and killed him.

Garcia — who also had a gun — was arrested at the scene.