Sat, Jul 21 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam
A jury is hearing evidence this week against two men who are charged with attempting to murder a Chula Vista police officer and another man who was shot twice outside Wild Wooly’s Saloon in 2011.
The pair are accused of conspiracy to commit assault outside a bar at 247 Broadway in Chula Vista on April 23, 2011.
Robert Romero was wounded. Chula Vista Police officer Ricardo Cruz suffered a broken foot when the driver allegedly tried to run him down.
Cruz testified Monday in the trial of Sean Darby O’Neill, 23, of Chula Vista, and James Martinez, 21, of Imperial Beach. Both men are accused of committing the crimes in association with a criminal street gang.
Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Ana Espana is presiding.
Deputy District Attorney David Bost said Romero was taken to a hospital after he collapsed from being shot in the chest and leg. Cruz was responding to the scene outside Wild Wooly’s when he saw the two defendants leave in a white car.
Cruz followed the car into a cul-de-sac, got outside the patrol car and ordered both men to get out at gunpoint.
Instead, Martinez, the driver, “comes straight at him,” said Bost, and Cruz fires five shots into the hood and windshield.
“He tried to kill Officer Cruz with a 3,000 pound car,” said Bost in his opening statement.
Cruz jumped from the car’s path but broke his foot. He is back on duty. Martinez was driving his brother’s car, and both men were arrested on May 15, 2011 by Chula Vista Police.
O’Neill’s attorney, Ray Estolano, told jurors he did not dispute the gang allegations, but did say his client did not participate in the shooting.
Martinez’s attorney, Gaylord Stewart, said his client didn’t attempt to kill either man and disputed the gang allegations.
O’Neill and Martinez remain in the George Bailey Detention Facility without bail. They have pleaded not guilty.
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