Fight with Calif. cop leads to attempted murder charge

The suspect tried to reach for the officer's gun after being cuffed


Oroville Mercury Register

ORLAND, Calif. — An Orland police officer is recovering from "non life-threatening " injuries, while a 29-year-old man is in Glenn County Jail in Willows on a charge of attempted murder of a peace officer, over an event that began late Saturday.

At about 11:20 p.m. Saturday, the as-yet unidentified officer allegedly stopped Justin Bentley of Orland, who was reportedly driving a 1992 Jeep Cherokee in the 800 block of Second Street. The officer was attempting to cuff Bentley after arresting him for suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, when the suspect began to fight, according to a press release issued by the Orland Police Department. The cop had placed one cuff on the suspect when the fight began.

During the struggle the officer attempted to shoot Bentley with a Taser stun gun, but the device failed to make the proper connection and had no effect.

Allegedly, Bentley attempted to take away the officer's sidearm.

Orland Police Chief Paula Carr said the officer and suspect were in an intense fight for the gun. During the fight the officer suffered an injury to his knee. When the officer gained full control of the weapon, he fired it three times at the fleeing suspect, who was not hit. The officer was taken by ambulance to Enloe Medical Center in Chico for treatment.

Law enforcement from the Glenn County Sheriff's Office, Willows police, California Highway Patrol, Corning police, Tehama County Sheriff's Office, Anderson Police, Red Bluff police, and Chico police, all took part in the hunt for the suspect.

Carr said a canine unit from the Anderson Police Department responded to the fight scene.

At about 12:35 a.m. Sunday, the dog tracked Bentley to the vicinity of Third and Colusa streets.

The suspect, according to the chief, "made himself known," and when the officers grabbed him he again fought until he was subdued and taken into custody. Bentley was taken to the Glenn Medical Center in Willows for a medical clearance and then he was taken to Glenn County Jail, where he was booked on the attempted murder of a peace officer charge. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

The injured officer was released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

Carr said the officer's name is being withheld temporarily because that is required under the department's officer-involved shooting protocol. She said she anticipated his name will be released in the next day or so.

As part of that same policy the officer has been placed on paid, administrative leave.

The chief said there is no doubt in her mind that the suspect intended to kill the officer if he could.

"It could have been a lot worse. We are happy the officer is OK and the bad guy is in custody," she said.

Copyright 2010 Oroville Mercury Register

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