Man sentenced to 22 years in prison in SDPD officer's shooting death
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who failed to obey an order to come out of a southeast San Diego apartment, leading police to make a forced entry in which a veteran San Diego officer was killed, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years and four months in state prison.
Patrick Luangrath, 22, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a gang allegation, along with an unrelated burglary charge.
Luangrath, along with Alex Charfauros and Melissa Ortiz, were charged with murder in the Oct. 27, 2010, shooting death of Officer Christopher Wilson.
Charfauros, 29, was convicted last month of second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and faces life in prison. Trial is pending for the 24-year-old Ortiz.
Outside court Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Luangrath remained holed up in a bedroom for 30 minutes, refusing repeated commands by officers to come out.
"As far as Mr. Luangrath is concerned, his liability is based on his refusal to come out of the bedroom and surrender to officers when he had knowledge that other people within that bedroom were armed with firearms," Runyon told reporters.
San Diego police Officer Travis Whipple, who survived the shooting, told Luangrath that he let his friends and family down with the poor choices he had made.
"I just can't help but feel for them," Whipple said. "You failed them."
Whipple, who served in the Marine Corps and did combat duty in Iraq before becoming a police officer, urged Luangrath to turn his life around and not let Wilson's death be in vain.
"Be the change you want to see in this world," he told the defendant.
Whipple said he didn't know Wilson that well, but called the 17-year veteran and training officer a "hero" and a "legend."
Runyon told jurors at Charfauros' trial that if he had told the truth about armed people holed up in his apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive, Wilson may not have been killed the night county probation officers and U.S. marshals went there.
Probation officers were checking on Charfauros, and the marshals were looking for Holim Lee, who had outstanding warrants for assault and a probation violation.
A man opened the door and said Charfauros wasn't home, then slammed it shut, Runyon said. Officers forced entry into the apartment and after a while, Charfauros came crawling out of the east bedroom.
Once outside, officers asked Charfauros if there were any guns, drugs or anyone else holed up inside, but the defendant was uncooperative, saying he had been at work, then went to sleep, Runyon said.
A number of San Diego police officers were called to assist, including Wilson, who also questioned Charfauros about who and what was still in the apartment, but the defendant said he didn't know, according to Runyon.
Wilson was shot in the head and died a short time later. He was 50.
Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were found dead in the bedroom from self-inflicted gunshots wounds. Prosecutors said Lee fired the shot that killed Wilson.
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