Annual Dan Bessant Run being held in Oceanside

Posted at 6:31 AM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 09:31:23-05

OCEANSIDE (CNS) - The 11th annual Dan Bessant Run, named for an Oceanside police officer gunned down by gang members, is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The race is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the shooting scene at Gold Drive and Arthur Street and proceed to Oceanside police headquarters on Mission Avenue. Oceanside police said traffic control will be conducted along the route, which includes North River Road and Douglas Drive.

Bessant, 25, was fatally shot on Dec. 20, 2006, while assisting another officer with a traffic stop. Then-17-year-old gang member Meki Gaono was later convicted of first-degree murder for firing the fatal bullet, which went under the officer's protective vest.

A second teen was also convicted of first-degree murder, and both are serving terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In a 2007 court filing, a prosecutor stated that the defendants had targeted Bessant because he was serving as a neighborhood police officer in charge of instituting tougher enforcement in an area rife with gang violence.

Charges against a third defendant, Jose Compre, were thrown out for insufficient evidence in 2008. Compre, now 27, was rearrested in October last year and his case is still pending in court.

A moment of silence for Bessant, an Oceanside native, will be held after the run.