Firefighters did nothing wrong during East Village attack, deputy chief says

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SAN DIEGO – A deputy fire chief testified Wednesday and defended the actions of his firefighters involved in a stabbing in East Village last summer.

On Wednesday prosecutors wrapped up their argument against a man accused of stabbing two firefighters at an East Village trolley station last June.

Jones stabbed two San Diego firefighters who were tending to an intoxicated man at an East Village trolley station last year, a prosecutor said Monday, but a defense attorney said his client was trying to help the drunk man and stabbed the firefighters in self-defense after being pushed over a bench by a fire captain.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Ricci

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Ricci

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Ricci took the stand in a trial for Ryan Allen Jones, charged with two counts of attempted murder of a firefighter. He clarified policies and procedures of the department.

The questions focused on whether his crew should have waited for police to arrive at the trolley station last June and Ricci said no.

“We are not prohibited from protecting the patient. We’re not prohibited from protecting themselves,” said Ricci. “There are times when we are standing back on a stand back call for upwards of 20, 30 40 minutes waiting for PD to get there.”

Ricci said Vernon and Walbrett were just doing their jobs when Jones viciously attacked them.

“Clearly in the video you can see he puts his hands up in the air, which is a defensive posture and is stabbed at some point after that,” said Ricci.

Ricci also defended the actions of Walbrett, when the firefighter jumped in to protect Vernon.

“That’s his partner, his partner’s being attacked he’s going to do what I think 99 percent of the society would do,” said Ricci.

Defense attorneys argued a 2008 incident with BART police where Jones believed he was mistreated, caused him to have flashbacks during the attack in San Diego.  A former BART station agent was told what happened on April 10, 2008.

“Mr. Jones took a fighting stance and then batons swinging, fists were swinging,” said Stan Simpson, a witness.

Simpson testified Jones tried to get on a train several times that day without a ticket.  He said when confronted by BART police, Jones refused to listen.

“Did that defendant ever comply with anything a police officer asked that day?” said Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott.

“No nothing that Officer Peroni had asked,” said Simpson.

On Thursday, defense attorneys are expected to begin calling witnesses.  No word on when or if Jones himself will testify.

If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison.

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