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SDPD officer accused of brandishing gun in Pacific Beach appears in court

Posted at 12:44 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 15:59:30-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – An off-duty San Diego Police Department officer was in court for a preliminary hearing Monday, charged with brandishing a gun.

Officer Trevor Sterling is also charged with a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon.

On July 31, Navy Seal BUDS trainee Joseph Kuyrkendall was in line to get into the Moonshine Beach Bar in Pacific Beach. He testified that he saw Sterling, who he said appeared highly intoxicated, staring at him as the sailor and friends crossed Garnet Avenue to the bar.

As he waited in line, Sterling appears to follow along parallel a few feet away, trying to stay on his feet, until surveillance video shows him approach Kuyrkendall.

Kuyrkendall said Sterling immediately put a gun to his stomach, which he initially thought was a flare gun, but quickly realized was a .45 handgun.

"If you panic, you're going to get shot," is what he said he remembers telling himself.

Relying on his military training, Kuyrkendall testified that he tried to remain calm as Sterling said things to him such as, "We're going to do this one way or another. We're going to take care of business, and this is how we get (expletive) done."

Eventually, the police showed up and arrested Sterling. Body-worn camera video of the arrest was also shown in court during the preliminary hearing.

Outside the courtroom, Sterling's attorney, Patrick Griffin, told ABC10News that he intends to show no malice was intended, and other factors will come to light at trial.

Griffin said Sterling is a Marine combat veteran who has PTSD who was self-medicating with alcohol and never intended to hurt anyone.