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Man accused of shooting CHP officer along San Diego freeway enters double plea

Yuhao Du entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The 25-year-old man accused of shooting a CHP officer along the I-8 freeway last month entered a double plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity during his arraignment Tuesday.

Yuhao Du, a graduate student studying physics at UC San Diego, faces several charges including attempted murder.

According to his defense attorney, Anna Demidchik, he entered a dual plea because he is not admitting guilt to any of the charges. She tells CBS 8 had he simply entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be admitting guilt to the charges.

"It was a difficult decision for us to make to take this plea. We discussed it extensively with Mr. Du, but we believe it is the best way to go," said Demidchik.

She said the plea is related to her client's prescription medication. She would not elaborate on exactly what medication that is, nor would she say if he has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Du’s mother, Xiuquin Li, a medical doctor, traveled to San Diego from China to be at the hearing. 

After it ended, she read a statement in Chinese to reporters. Du’s defense attorney translated it.

"My husband and I fully sympathize with Officer Pacheco, we hope Officer Pacheco can recover as quickly as possible. What happened must be extremely traumatizing, not just for the officer hurt in the line of duty, but for his family. It must be heartbreaking for the officer’s wife, who is carrying his child and her heart to go through this,” said Demidchik. "And also to take care of their other children."

“Yuhao has always been a very good, responsible, hardworking kid with big dreams. That’s why we supported his desire to study physics in the United States and it breaks my heart to see him in this situation,” she continued.

“I trust the America's justice system to get to the bottom of this and come to the right resolution of this issue," she said.

Court appointed doctors will evaluate Du. His next court date is scheduled for July.

WATCH RELATED: CHP officer recovering after I-8 freeway shooting, suspect due in court (Apr 29, 2022)