SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting one San Diego police officer and wounding another will be arraigned Tuesday at a hospital where he is recovering from a gunshot wound.
Officials said 52-year-old Jesse Gomez was found in a ravine shortly after the shootings Thursday night. Officer Jonathan DeGuzman, 43, died after being rushed to a hospital. Officer Wade Irwin, 32, is recovering from his wounds at a hospital.
Police said the shootings started about 11 p.m. during a traffic stop by the gang unit officers. A second man was arrested Friday on an unrelated search warrant and may also be involved, authorities said. Investigators have reviewed body camera footage, but they have not determined if the shootings were similar to targeted, premeditated attacks on police in other parts of the country.
Officials have released little information about Gomez. The construction worker has a criminal record stretching back to 1983, including a conviction for auto theft and drunken driving. Prosecutors said he used a cane to seize a car from another driver in 1983. He was convicted of firearm charges in 1992, and again in 2002, for carrying firearms while under the influence of methamphetamine.
Gomez grew up in a modest house in southeastern San Diego, about a half-mile from where the shooting occurred.
Real estate broker Leonard A. Marquez wrote in a 2002 letter to a judge that Gomez had worked for him for eight years. Marquez described him as “a multi-talented worker who is considered to be a great asset to all construction projects.”
Gomez’s son, Daniel Gomez, told The San Diego Union-Tribune, that he believes his father is innocent. He said he is a good father to his three sons and dedicated grandfather to his 9-year-old granddaughter.
“I know he’s been in trouble, like when I was a baby, but after that nothing,” Daniel Gomez told the newspaper. “It’s like he realized he had his kids in his life and he had to take care of them, so that’s what he did. He stayed out of trouble and was about his family.”
A memorial service will be held Thursday and a public funeral Mass on Friday for DeGuzman.
Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat contributed to this report.