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Man charged in shooting death of SDPD officer testifies in court

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 20:21:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A man accused of fatally shooting a San Diego police officer four years ago took the stand Thursday and claims he thought the patrol car that was 'creeping up' behind him was a carload of gang members who were going to kill him.

Jesse Michael Gomez, 60, is charged with murder in the shooting death of 43-year-old Officer Jonathan "J.D." De Guzman. He is also charged with attempted murder for wounding De Guzman's partner, Wade Irwin, who was shot in the throat.

It happened on Thursday, July 28, 2016, in the Shelltown neighborhood. Prosecutors say Gomez shot Officer Irwin before turning the gun on Officer De Guzman. Gomez was shot by Irwin as he fled into a ravine, and authorities later apprehended him.

De Guzman, who was a 16-year veteran of SDPD, was mortally wounded and died at a hospital from his injuries.

Irwin, who is now a detective, took the stand last week and said he spent 23 days in the hospital. Due to the severity of his injuries, he now has partial paralysis of his diaphragm and vocal chord.

Earlier Thursday, Gomez testified in court and walked prosecutors moment by moment leading up to the shooting that night. Gomez explained his history of alcoholism and drug abuse and said he smoked meth four to five times on the day of the shooting.

"It gets you going, I mean, if you have something to do," Gomez said in court Thursday.

"If I had to do the lawn, I'd snort it [and] get the lawn done. If I had something to do or if I was working, it gets you going."

Defense attorneys have argued Gomez did not know he was being approached by two police officers as he walked at night in the area known for gang violence. At 5 p.m., ABC 10News will have the latest testimony from Gomez as prosecutors continue to cross-examine him.