SAN DIEGO -- The El Cajon Police Department officer who prosecutors say was brutally assaulted by a robbery suspect at a KFC restaurant was in court Wednesday, describing the moment he knew things had gone horribly wrong.
It was a preliminary hearing for 42-year-old transient Daniel Moses Cook, who faces 62 years to life in prison if convicted of his assault on 29-year department veteran Jose Seosin.
"I saw his fist coming down on my face," Seosin recalled in his testimony Wednesday. "And I knew it wasn't going to end well."
The officer also recalled fearing Cook would gouge out his eyes in the attack, and purposefully falling on his right side to protect his gun when the robbery suspect took him to the floor and started punching.
After three surgeries to repair his face, Seosin has returned to the force, though he continues to suffer from migraines.
Cook plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
In court, prosecutors paired the officer's testimony with surveillance video of the attack in their attempt to convict Cook.
The events began about 10 a.m. on July 17, 2017, when Cook allegedly robbed a Dollar Tree store at a strip mall in the 700 block of Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon, according to police. Following the crime, the thief went to a nearby KFC and began stealing soft drinks from a soda fountain there, Lt. Rob Ransweiler said.
When Seosin approached Cook inside the restaurant a short time later, the suspect allegedly turned violent, punching the officer and knocking him to the ground. The assault continued even after Seosin lost consciousness, Ransweiler said.
After the assailant finally stopped beating the officer and left the area, a Metropolitan Transit System employee who had witnessed the attack used the Seosin's radio to call for help.
"Since the downed officer was alone, it may have taken much longer to get medical aid to him if it were not for the quick thinking and willingness to get involved of this good Samaritan," Ransweiler said.
Medics took the officer to a hospital for treatment of extensive injuries.
Cook remained defiant until police shocked him into submission with an electric stun gun and took him into custody without further incident, according to officers.