OFFICER JONATHAN M. DE GUZMAN
BADGE 3836, ID 5721
SDPD 10/20/2000 - 07/28/2016
09/17/1972 - 07/28/2016
San Diego police officers were working through their grief Friday, as they tried to untangle the series of events that claimed the life of Officer Jonathan “J.D.” DeGuzman, 43, and left his partner, Wade Irwin, 32, seriously wounded but expected to recover.
Jesse Michael Gomez, 52, was arrested Thursday night in the shooting, police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a late afternoon news conference. Gomez, who lives in Bay Park, was wounded and taken into custody earlier in the morning, as police scoured the Southcrest neighborhood, looking for a possible accomplice.
Police arrested Marcus Antonio Cassani, 41, about 11:40 a.m. Friday on Delta Street in Shelltown, not far from the shooting site. Investigators have not yet determined if he was involved in the shooting, Zimmerman said. Cassani, who has a criminal record that includes convictions for burglary, escape, methamphetamine and illegal weapons possession, was held on an arrest warrant out of Anaheim.
The two uniformed, gang-suppression officers were in their marked patrol car just before 11 p.m. Thursday when they stopped a person on Acacia Grove Way near 37th Street in Southcrest for reasons that remained unclear Friday afternoon, Zimmerman said in a news conference. The officers called for emergency cover. When nearby officers arrived to help, they found DeGuzman and Irwin shot in the chest and rushed DeGuzman to a hospital in a patrol car.
Nearby residents said they heard eight to 10 gunshots, then sirens as scores of police cars converged on the street.
One resident on Z Street, near Acacia Grove Way, said he and his wife looked out their back yard and saw a wounded officer being placed into a patrol car and whisked away.
Police said they had been shot several times. Investigators did not know if they had been ambushed.
DeGuzman, a 16-year-veteran of the department and a father of two young children, died at Scripps Mercy Hospital, Zimmerman said. Wade, also a father of a young child, underwent surgery at the nearby UC San Diego Medical Center. Zimmerman said that Irwin regained consciousness Friday and was talking, and that doctors expect him to recover fully.
The chief said both officers were wearing bulletproof vests. At least one of the officer’s body-worn cameras captured the incident, which she said unfolded “extremely quickly.”
Zimmerman said investigators will “determine with certainty the nature and circumstances surrounding the stop.”
Police arrested Gomez shortly after the incident, about 11:30 p.m., in the Chollas Creek ravine just south of the site of the shooting, Zimmerman said. Officers had found a trail of blood leading toward him. He was critically injured by a gunshot wound to his upper chest.
Investigators believed there was a second suspect, so police, including officers from many other agencies, swarmed the area and, with guns drawn, searched with the aid of police dogs, helicopters and heavily armed SWAT team members. They focused for hours on the ravine where Gomez was found. Residents were asked to stay indoors and streets were cordoned off for several blocks in all directions.
No other suspects had been found by sunrise. Many officers from the other police agencies were released from their posts by 4 a.m. and some streets reopened after that.
Residents said police knocked on their doors through the early morning hours, asking what they had heard or seen and whether they had security cameras that may have caught part of the incident. Officers also repeatedly searched back yards along Chollas Creek.
"They were telling people to stay inside," said Dunwick Agoncillo, 42, an 11-year resident of Southcrest. "It was pretty intense. Friends started texting us, saying two officers were shot. With all the stuff happening in other cities, I thought, dang, that's happening in my neighborhood."
Another neighbor, 17-year-old Johan Torres, said he heard gunshots while watching TV.
"It's really tragic, for the families," Torres said. "(The officers) didn't go out that day for that to happen."