SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - A terrifying scene played out in La Mesa earlier this week when an eighth grader was chased by a man with machetes on her way to school.
The man accused – who allegedly had two machetes as he chased the 13-year-old girl – was shot by police and on Thursday was charged under unusual circumstances.
Bernard E. Graham, 34, was supposed to hear charges against him from his hospital bed at Sharp Memorial Hospital, but prosecutors said he was in no condition to enter a plea. Though he is still recovering from surgery, and was unable to be arraigned, prosecutors did file charges against him on Thursday.
He was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon against the 13-year-old-girl; one count of assault with a deadly weapon on the peace officer; and 2 counts of resisting arrest with the use of a deadly weapon.
Graham was shot in the abdomen and one of his arms during the Monday morning encounter with La Mesa police on Fletcher Parkway, a short distance from Amaya Drive, according to La Mesa Police Capt. Ray Sweeney.
The events that led to the shooting began just before 8:30 a.m., when a man in a black leather jacket confronted a 13-year-old near a trolley station as she was walking to school and threw a closed pocket knife at her, striking her with it, police said. The terrified girl ran off, and Graham gave chase according to police. The teen managed to elude her pursuer by fleeing into a nearby sandwich shop, Sweeney said.
Graham ignored officers' commands to drop a large machete-style knife and allegedly charged toward one of them, prompting the officer to open fire.
The defendant -- who has a 2004 conviction for arson -- remained held at the hospital on $350,000 bail. He faces 55 years to life if convicted of the current charges.
Graham's arraignment will be postponed until Tuesday when they hope he will be coherent enough to understand the charges against him.
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