A Santa Paula Police officer fired his duty weapon when a man refused to stop throwing large pieces of cinder block at the officer while three men injured during a brawl lay on the ground nearby. The suspect was not injured by gunfire, although he was later subdued by a Taser. Above, the injured are treated by ambulance and fire personnel. Jacinto Flores Coles, 39, of Santa Paula threw cinder blocks at the officer and was later arrested. (Photo by Don Johnson)

Officer fires shot after being attacked during brawl

July 09, 2008
4th of July brawl
Santa Paula Police Department
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesA rare instance of a Santa Paula Police officer firing his weapon caused more fireworks on the Fourth of July when a man refused to stop throwing large pieces of cinder block at the officer while three men injured during a brawl lay on the ground nearby. The suspect was not injured by gunfire - although he was later subdued by a Taser - during the incident that occurred on Friday, July 4.At approximately 10:04 p.m., the Santa Paula Police Department received a call of a fight involving many subjects in the 100 block of North 11th Street, according to SPPD Lieutenant Carlos Juarez. The fight, he noted, reportedly involved 15 to 20 subjects, and “It was unknown if weapons were involved.”Senior Officer Ryan Smith was the first officer to arrive on scene, and he saw “several subjects fighting, several striking the victims with pieces of cinder block” as Smith exited his patrol vehicle and began ordering the suspects to stop.Juarez said that one suspect, later identified as Jacinto Flores Coles, 39, of Santa Paula, turned and “began throwing pieces of cinder block at Sr. Officer Smith, nearly striking him. Sr. Officer Smith identified himself as a police officer and ordered him to drop the cinder block,” but Coles continued the assault.Smith fired his duty weapon at Coles, who stopped his assault and fled into a nearby residence. “As backup officers arrived, Coles returned to the scene and officers immediately chased him into the residence, where he was subdued by Officer Jeremy Watson,” who, Juarez said, deployed an electronic Taser device to bring Coles under control.Other responding SPPD officers, Santa Paula Fire EMTs and ambulance paramedics rendered aid to three victims who had been assaulted with cinder blocks, considered a deadly weapon. The victims, all residents of Santa Paula, had injuries ranging from moderate to minor: Fortunato Gomez, 36, sustained a laceration to his head; Salvador Coles, 31, sustained minor injuries; and Pedro Coles, 40, also sustained minor injuries.
Gomez was transported to Ventura County Medical Center for treatment; Pedro Coles and Salvador Coles were transported to Santa Paula Hospital. Juarez said the suspects in the assault are still outstanding.Jacinto Coles was treated on the scene for the injuries sustained by the discharge of the electronic Taser device. “Neither he or any other person at the scene was injured as a result of the discharge of Sr. Officer Smith’s firearm,” Juarez noted.The area was checked for other victims and witnesses, and several of the witnesses were transported to the SPPD Station for questioning. A witness said that the scene was a bloody one: “All the wounds were to the head,” leaving the alley area where the fight occurred awash with blood.Police Chief Steve MacKinnon said that alcohol was involved in the fight, which started as a complaint of loud noise from a party. Jacinto Coles was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting an executive officer before he was transported to Ventura County Jail, where his bail was set at $50,000.The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the SPPD at 525-4474 (Dial 2 when the automated connection is made). Or call the SPPD Anonymous Tip Line at 933-4253 Ext. 1. Those with information can also call the Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 524-0907, where anonymous tips that lead to a conviction could result in a $1,000 reward.

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