Man found guilty in firefighter attack

Posted at 10:52 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 18:40:48-04
SAN DIEGO -- A man with a prior conviction for battery on a peace officer was found guilty Thursday of attempted voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing of two San Diego firefighters last year at an East Village trolley stop. 
A San Diego County Superior Court jury found 35-year-old Ryan Allen Jones guilty of two counts each of attempted voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon and battery for the attack on firefighters Ben Vernon and Alex Wallbrett and two transit security officers last June 24.
However he was acquitted on the more serious counts of attempted murder. 
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott alleged Jones attacked the firefighters in a "brazen attack that was nothing short of pure violence.'' Schott called Jones a "violent man who chose to pull out a knife and stab two firefighters.''
Vernon and Wallbrett were among several firefighters who responded to a call about 4 p.m. reporting a sick and drunk man at the trolley station in the 500 block of Park Boulevard. According to prosecutors, Jones refused orders to step away from the scene and then attacked transit officers before stabbing the two firefighters.
Transit security officers allegedly ended the assault by pulling the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jones off the firefighters and dousing him with pepper spray. The guards then held Jones until police arrived.
Defense attorney Thomas Barr argued that Jones was waiting at the trolley stop when he noticed a confrontation between a transit officer and the drunk man. Barr said Jones was trying to help and keep the situation calm when fire Capt. Steven Michaels pushed him over a bench, forcing Jones to defend himself.
"Mr. Jones was acting as a Good Samaritan,'' Barr told the jury.