SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who tried to commit "suicide by cop" by firing a rifle into the air in North Park, then pointing the weapon at an officer who shot him, was sentenced Wednesday to three years probation and given credit for more than a year in custody.
Timothy James Farrell, 56, pleaded guilty last month to a felony count of discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. Judge Dwayne Moring gave him credit for more than 400 days in jail.
Moring allowed Farrell -- who uses a wheelchair due to chronic health issues -- to be released Thursday rather than Wednesday so he wouldn't have to spend the night on the street. The defendant told the judge he needed the time to arrange housing.
Officer Frank Bigler opened fire on Farrell with a shotgun the night of Nov. 17 when the defendant pointed a rifle at him at Louisiana Street and University Avenue. Farrell, who lives a short distance away, was shot in the upper body, according to police.
Bigler and other officers had gone to the neighborhood shortly after 7:30 p.m. to investigate reports that a seemingly enraged man was firing a gun into the air and shouting at people to call the police.
Patrol officers arrived to find Farrell on the northeast corner of the intersection, clad in a camouflage jacket and clutching a .30-caliber bolt-action rifle. Farrell ignored repeated orders to drop the weapon, then leveled it at Bigler, prompting the officer to shoot him, police said.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon told the judge that Farrell represented a "significant danger" to the community the day of the incident.
"His plan didn't work," the prosecutor said of Farrell's attempt at "suicide by cop."
Farrell -- who has a minimal non-violent criminal history -- suffers from chronic pulmonary disease, or COPD, and physical problems stemming from alcohol abuse, Runyon said.
Moring told Farrell that a prison sentence was looming should he violate probation.
"This was an extremely serious case," the judge said.
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