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U T San Diego
By PAUL ANDERSON City News Service
May 24, 2012
SANTA ANA —- The wife of Oceanside police chief and former Cypress City Councilman Frank McCoy threatened suicide by cop several times and fired her husband’s service weapon at Cypress police twice during a standoff that lasted hours in December 2010, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday.
But Brinda Sue McCoy’s attorney told jurors in the opening statements for her trial Thursday that while she is guilty of shooting the gun, the evidence will show she did not intend to hurt any of the police officers.
McCoy, 49, is charged with six felony counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a peace officer and a felony count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence with sentencing enhancement allegations for shooting a gun.
“It all begins on Dec. 16, 2010, with the defendant’s decision to call 911,” Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri said.
McCoy allegedly “test fired” her husband’s duty weapon about 7:10 p.m., prompting her neighbor Diana Orr to call McCoy, Olivieri said.
McCoy responded, “Why the (expletive) are you calling me? What the (expletive) do you want? I’ve had it,” according to Olivieri.
McCoy also allegedly told her neighbor she “would fire at police to have them gun her down,” Olivieri said.
McCoy called 911 and told the dispatcher “she wants to be taken out of her misery,” Olivieri said.
Cypress police arrived just after 7:15 p.m. and several officers positioned themselves behind three vehicles while McCoy paced through the house and at times pointed the gun out the window of her home in the 4500 block of Tuscani Drive, Olivieri said.
Several times, McCoy demanded police move her son’s pickup truck, behind which some officers had taken position, allegedly threatening to shoot at the vehicle, Olivieri said.
McCoy eventually fired the gun at the truck and at a Toyota Prius, leaving bullets in both vehicles, Olivieri said. One officer was so close to the bullet fired at the truck that she had to check herself to make sure she wasn’t shot, the prosecutor added.
One officer, who was a friend of the family, tried to talk McCoy into surrendering and warned her that officers were behind the truck she was threatening to shoot at, Olivieri said.
“If you shoot at the truck, there’s a chance you’ll hit one of the officers behind the truck,” the officer told McCoy, according to Olivieri.
“I don’t care. Move the truck or I will shoot,” McCoy responded, according to Olivieri.
After 10 p.m., while McCoy was at the front door and apparently reaching to an area out of sight where police later found a gun, SWAT officers ultimately subdued McCoy by shooting her with nonlethal bean bags, Olivieri said.
Defense attorney Lew Rosenblum told jurors that McCoy had been suffering from depression and had a prescription for Wellbutrin, but it was not working, so her physician put her on Klonopin.
Her 16-year-old son called in sick to his school that morning pretending to be his father so he could ditch classes, Rosenblum said. That upset McCoy, who got into an argument with her husband over it when he got home, Rosenblum said.
At some point, Frank McCoy decided to take his son and go to another relative’s house, leaving the distraught defendant home alone, Rosenblum said.
Then she had a couple of martinis, Rosenblum said.
“Little did she know the reaction she would have,” he said. “She wanted to die.”
Rosenblum intends to have McCoy testify so she can tell her side of the story.
“I’ll let her speak for herself, but she was depressed and she wanted to kill herself,” Rosenblum said.
After McCoy test-fired her husband’s service gun, she decided she couldn’t go through with it, so she called 911, Rosenblum said.
Rosenblum said the 28-minute 911 call with the dispatcher that will be played for jurors will show McCoy changed her mind about having the police respond to her home.
McCoy, who was a nurse and knew many of the officers who responded, threatened to shoot the gun at the truck because she wanted her other son, who is an adult and a Long Beach police officer, to leave the area so he wouldn’t see her get shot by police, Rosenblum said.
McCoy did not know any officers were behind the truck when she fired the gun, Rosenblum said.
“She had no intention of harming any police officers, not in a million years,” Rosenblum said. “She knew these people.”
He conceded his client was guilty of negligently discharging a weapon.
“You should convict her of that,” Rosenblum said. “But she did not intend to harm anyone.”
McCoy faces up to 62 years and eight months in state prison if she is convicted in a trial.