Man shot by police after allegedly raising rifle toward officer to stand trial

Incident involving Esteban Nandin occurred in Oct.

SAN DIEGO - A Navy non-commissioned officer who was shot by a San Diego police officer after allegedly raising a military assault rifle in his direction must stand trial on a charge of exhibiting a firearm in the presence of a peace officer, a judge ruled Monday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Esteban Nandin, who is stationed at Coronado Amphibious Base, faces three years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret.

Judge Leo Valentine Jr. ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing for Nandin to stand trial. A Superior Court arraignment was set for Jan. 10.

San Diego police officers were called to a six-story residential unit, above commercial space and just south of Horton Plaza, shortly before 3 a.m. on Oct. 14. Someone inside 606 Third Ave. told a 911 dispatcher that a man wearing a tactical vest and carrying a military-style assault-type weapon was in a first-floor corridor, according to police.

Security Guard Michael Sullivan testified he was making his rounds when he came across Nandin.  

"I looked down on the floor to my left and saw a white man laying on his stomach and what it looked like he had in his hands was a rapid fire assault weapon," recalled Sullivan, who said Nandin did not fire the gun or point it in the security guard's direction.

Sullivan then exited the Market Square Apartment building and called 911.

Officers entered the building's lobby and spotted a man -- later identified as Nandin -- with a gun. He saw the officers and allegedly began to raise the barrel of the weapon toward them.

SDPD Officer Charles Marciniak was one of the first officers on scene. When he arrived, the San Diego police K-9 officer testified that he left his dog in the car and grabbed his rifle because it was a potential "active shooter" that was in the building.

With several other officers behind him, Marciniak pushed open a security door and came face-to-face with Nandin, who he described as standing in a position that indicated he was ready to shoot.

"We met eyes and then the next thing I know is the gun is being swung into my direction and upward," Marciniak said.

Marciniak said he reacted by firing two shots in Nandin's direction.

"I feared for my life. This person is standing there with a rifle and tactical gear and he pointed the rifle at me. At that point I feared it was me or him," Marciniak said.

Marciniak took cover in the lobby of the apartment building, along with other officers, who called out repeatedly for Nandin to drop his weapon and surrender, but he did not.

Nandin, 24, retreated into the stairwell and a SWAT team was called. Nearly an hour later, Nandin emerged from the building. He no longer wore the tactical gear or carried an assault rifle. He was shirtless and bleeding, testified the officer, who ordered him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Detectives later found Nandin's gear near a pool of blood in a stairwell. Neither the assault rifle nor the semi-automatic pistol he carried in his tactical vest was loaded.

Nandin, dressed in his Navy uniform, did not react as the judge ordered him to stand trial.

A motive was not clear.

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