A Union City gang member was convicted today of the attempted murder of a police officer and nine other felony counts for firing 10 shots from a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Fremont police Officer Todd Young last year, nearly killing him. Andrew Barrientos, 21, who was dressed in a brown suit, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion while the clerk for Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner spent 10 minutes reading all the verdicts against him. He smiled while talking with his attorney before and after hearing the verdicts, which came after four days of jury deliberations.
Prosecutor John Brouhard told jurors in his closing argument last week that Barrientos knew exactly what he was doing when he shot Young because he was aware that there were two felony arrest warrants out for him when Young and fellow officer Eric Tang attempted to arrest him at 2009 Auseon Ave., near Bancroft Avenue, in East Oakland at about 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2010. Brouhard said the two officers, who were part of the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force, weren’t wearing police uniforms but they had badges and yelled “Police!” when they tried to arrest Barrientos.
Brouhard said Barrientos also called his mother nine minutes after Young was shot to tell her he had messed up and told her, “I shot a police officer.”
However, Barrientos’ attorney, Barbara Thomas, said Barrientos didn’t know that Young and Tang were police officers and fired in self-defense. But Brouhard said Barrientos was a member of the Decoto Nortenos gang and wanted to kill Young because he would earn respect as a cop-killer and rise “to the top of the all-star team of gang violence.” The prosecutor said Barrientos had told his ex-girlfriend a few months before the shooting that if police tried to arrest him “I’m ready for whatever” and that he would go “for all head shots” because he was armed with two pistols and had a vest. The warrants for Barrientos were for recklessly avoiding police and speeding away from Union City police on April 7, 2010, and for threatening his ex-girlfriend with a gun in San Leandro on Aug. 13, 2010.
Brouhard said that in the latter incident, Barrientos pointed a pistol at his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of their baby boy, and said, “I’m going to kill you” when they had an argument after he reneged on his promise to her that he would turn himself in to police for the April 2010 incident. Young was shot twice in the pelvis and nearly died after he lost large amounts of blood. He spent more than seven weeks at Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he received blood transfusions and underwent numerous surgeries to address serious bladder problems. Oakland police said that after Young was shot, Barrientos tried to carjack one vehicle before successfully stealing a second car. Barrientos fled to Southern California but was arrested near the Mexican border the day after the shooting.
In addition to the attempted murder of a peace officer charge, Barrientos was convicted of carjacking, attempted carjacking and two counts each of shooting at an occupied vehicle, carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in a city. He also was convicted of two enhancement clauses that he was acting to benefit a gang and was involved in street terrorism. In addition, he was convicted of assault with a firearm and making terrorist threats for threatening his ex-girlfriend. Barrientos faces at least 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Horner on Dec. 16. The word “Decoto” is tattooed on Barrientos’ right arm and was visible throughout his preliminary hearing last year, when he was dressed in a sleeveless jail uniform.
But it was covered up during his trial because he was allowed to wear a suit. Thomas wasn’t in court today and wasn’t immediately available to discuss the verdict. The attorney who sat in for her, Michael Berger, declined to comment. Young testified against Barrientos last month and sat in the front row today when the verdicts were read but he appeared to be emotional and declined to comment afterward. Fremont police Detective Bill Veteran said Young “respects the service of the jury and respects the verdict and is glad to get this behind him so he can get back to work soon.” Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler said Young still has nerve damage in his leg and has to undergo one or two more surgeries but is expected to eventually return to work.
“He’s a fighter and he’s in good shape,” Steckler said. Steckler said he’s “very happy” with the jury’s verdicts. Horner’s courtroom was packed with officers from the Fremont and Union City police departments. Several of Barrientos’ family members, including his mother, also were present.
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