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Home  >  Topics  >  Off Duty

November 04, 2006
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Off-duty Calif. officer suprises robbers; pulls out gun instead of wallet

By Henry K. Lee, Staff Writer
The San Francisco Chronicle

Two would-be robbers got a scare of their own on Halloween night when they accosted a man in El Cerrito -- only to have the man turn out to be an off-duty police officer who pointed a laser-sighted gun at one of the suspect's heads, authorities said Thursday.

Spooked, the assailants ran away. Two suspects were arrested a short time later at a nearby supermarket.

"They picked the wrong victim," said El Cerrito police Cpl. Donald Horgan.

The incident began at about 8 p.m. Tuesday when two men wearing bandannas approached the off-duty officer near Poinsett Park in the northern part of El Cerrito.

"He was walking down the street and a guy walked up and said, 'Wallet,' " Horgan said.

The officer realized that he was being robbed and drew his weapon and identified himself as an officer, Horgan said. He ordered both assailants to the ground and pointed his semiautomatic handgun -- with its red laser-sight aimed squarely at one assailant's forehead, Horgan said.

"They took off running," Horgan said.

El Cerrito police responded to the area and found two people matching the description provided by the officer at the Safeway store at San Pablo and Macdonald avenues, less than a mile away.

The off-duty officer identified Perry Wiley Jr., 18, of Richmond and a 16-year-old Richmond boy as the people who tried to rob him, Horgan said.

Contra Costa County prosecutors charged Wiley on Thursday with attempted robbery and a probation violation for a previous misdemeanor conviction, said Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts.

The 16-year-old was taken to Juvenile Hall in Martinez. Because he is a minor, authorities would not say if he had been charged with a crime.

Heather Valentine, 37, who lives on Poinsett Avenue near where the incident occurred, said Thursday that the neighborhood is relatively safe but has had its share of crime.

"I'm really close to Richmond, and when I sit in my hot tub I can hear gunfire," Valentine said. About a month ago, someone stripped a neighbor's car of its tires and rims and put the entire vehicle on blocks, she said.

Told of the attempted robbery of a police officer, she said, "That's great karma."

Copyright 2006 San Francisco Chronicle
All Rights Reserved

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