Jury deadlocks again on charges against man who shot sheriff’s deputy

Ray Pitoau testifies in his own defense in October 2018. The trial stemmed back to a fight in the Gaslamp District that ended with Pitoau shooting an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.

SAN DIEGO — A jury failed again on Friday to reach a verdict on charges facing a man who shot an off-duty sheriff’s deputy after a Metallica concert last summer.

It was the second time a jury could not reach a decision on the assault with a deadly weapon charges brought against Ray Pitoau, stemming back to the shooting of 36-year-old deputy Jason Philpot during a fight in the Gaslamp District.

In his first trial in July, Pitoau admitted he had a .38-caliber revolver in his fist when it went off, wounding Philpot and a bystander. The defendant testified that he didn’t have his finger on the trigger as he and Philpot struggled over the gun.

The prosecutor, though, argued that Pitoau knew what he was doing when he shot Philpot, an off-duty San Diego County sheriff’s deputy, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Pitoau was convicted of three firearms charges, including being a felon in possession of a gun, according to the newspaper. But jurors deadlocked on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon — as they did again on Friday.

At a hearing earlier this week, Pitoau testified that the confrontation that led to the shooting started after a Philpot’s brother made a comment to him.

“It wasn’t in an aggressive tone, but it was in a derogatory way — the way he said it,” Pitoau testified. “He said it in a joking manner, but I took it as offensive.”

“You felt disrespected?” his attorney asked. “Yes,” said Pitaou.

At an earlier hearing in January, Philpot testified that on Aug. 6, 2017, he and his brother Josh were out in the Gaslamp District with friends following a Metallica concert. His brother got into a verbal confrontation with Pitoau, Philpot said. He testified that Pitoau pulled a gun, so he stepped in front of his brother to protect him, and Pitoau shot him point blank three times.

One of the shots passed through Philpot and hit a bystander named Vladimir Shvets, who was wounded in the arm.

“I thought I was going to die, and I thought I’d have at least a minute to live,” Philpot said .

Pitoau fled from the scene but was found a month later in Tijuana. Authorities said he had shaved his facial hair and changed his appearance.