New details of fatal police shooting released at hospital arraignment

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SAN DIEGO – Prosecutors revealed new details about the shooting that killed a San Diego police officer and wounded his partner Tuesday at the hospital arraignment of the suspected gunman.

Jesse Michael Gomez, 52, was charged with  murder, attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm at a hearing at 2:30 p.m. at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. The arraignment took place in the hospital because Gomez is recovering after being critically wounded late Thursday night.

Gomez is accused of shooting Jonathan "J.D.'' De Guzman, a member of the SDPD gang suppression unit, and his partner, Wade Irwin. De Guzman, 43, died after being shot five times. Irwin, 32,  has been hospitalized since the shootings.

After the arraignment, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that the crimes Gomez is accused of would make him eligible for the death penalty but her office has yet to determine if they will ask for capital punishment. Bail for Gomez was set at $5 million.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon outlined the evidence that prosecutors presented during the short hearing in the hospital room. According to investigators, De Guzman and Irwin were patrolling in the Shelltown neighborhood of San Diego at about 11 p.m. on July 28. When they were in the 3700 block of Acacia Grove Way, Irwin noticed two men walking ahead of them. As the patrol car approached the men split up. De Guzman, who was driving, made a U-turn, and Irwin got out and approached one of the men, Runyon said.

Irwin told investigators that he asked the man if he lived in the neighborhood. Without answering, the man pulled out a handgun and shot Irwin in the throat, Runyon said. The man then walked up to the patrol car and began firing at De Guzman through the open passenger-side door.

De Guzman was shot five times. One bullet went through both lungs and severed his spinal cord. That was the fatal shot, Runyon said.

Irwin was gravely wounded, but he fired his gun at the shooter. He told investigators that he didn't know if he hit the man, but he saw gunman leave the area.

Irwin called for assistance, and officers poured into the neighborhood. They followed a blood trail to a nearby ravine, where they found Gomez, who was unconscious, Runyon said. They also recovered a gun and ammunition in the ravine.

De Guzman was taken to a hospital, where he died, leaving behind a wife and two children.

Later, after Irwin underwent surgery for his wound, he picked Gomez out of the six-person photo lineup and identified him as the gunman, Runyon said.

Irwin, who is married and the father of a 19-month-old child, is expected to make a full recovery.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber Scheduled the next hearing, a status conference, for Sept. 1.

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