A San Leandro man was convicted today of the attempted murder of a police officer for shooting an Oakland police motorcycle officer nearly three years ago.Jesse Mendez, 28, also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and shooting from a vehicle in connection with the shooting of Officer Kevin McDonald shortly after midnight on May 19, 2007.However, jurors acquitted Mendez of a separate allegation of willful, premeditated and deliberate attempted murder.Mendez, who looked straight ahead and showed little emotion when the jury’s verdict was announced after two-and-a-half days of deliberation, faces a potential term of life in state prison when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara on March 29. McDonald, 46, said he’s happy that Mendez was convicted. He said, “My bulletproof vest saved me,” as it absorbed the impact of a shot that was fired at his chest. However, McDonald said he still has chronic chest pain and has nerve damage to his hands, as he instinctively raised his hands in self-defense.But McDonald returned to work after the incident. He said, “I’m still on my motorcycle.”According to Oakland police, Mendez, who has a prior felony conviction for selling narcotics and misdemeanor convictions for theft, forgery and traffic violations, was with his cousin, 22-year-old Jeremiah Dye of San Leandro, who was on probation for a robbery conviction, when McDonald stopped them near Parker Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland for allegedly running a stop sign.McDonald told investigators that as he walked to the 1980 Chevrolet Camaro in which Mendez and Dye were riding, Mendez fired at least four shots at him without warning. The Camaro then drove off, but McDonald was able to provide descriptions of Mendez and Dye and the car’s license plate number.The Camaro was found abandoned a few blocks away and police began searching the area.Officers located Dye hiding in a crawl space under a house in the 2600 block of Parker about four hours after the shooting.According to Oakland police, Officer Robert Roche ordered Dye several times to come out but he refused.Police said Roche shot and killed Dye when he made a furtive movement that appeared to indicate he was reaching for a gun.Mendez was arrested in Sacramento 10 days after the incident.Mendez’s defense lawyer, Thomas Broome, admitted to jurors during the trial that Mendez was driving the Camaro, but he claimed that Dye was the person who fired at McDonald. But prosecutor Autrey James said the jurors’ verdict, as well as their comments afterward, indicate that they believe Mendez was the shooter.
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