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A Union City gang member was sentenced today to life in state prison for a shooting in Oakland last year in which he fired 10 shots at Fremont police Officer Todd Young, nearly killing him. Andrew Barrientos, 21, was convicted of the attempted murder of a police officer and nine other felony counts for the incident at 2009 Auseon Ave., near Bancroft Avenue in East Oakland at about 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2010. Prosecutor John Brouhard told jurors in his closing argument in the case last month 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.
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 with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun 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. Young testified against Barrientos last month and sat in the front row at today’s hearing. He said afterward that he will have abdomen reconstruction surgery next month and hopes to return to work next summer. Oakland police said that after Young was shot, Barrientos tried to carjack a 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.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner sentenced Barrientos to life in prison with the possibility of parole for his conviction for the attempted murder of a peace officer, 25 years to life for using a firearm to shoot Young and another 36 years and 6 months for his other crimes. Brouhard said Barrientos will have to serve at least 62 years in prison and won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 83 years old. 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. It was covered up during his trial because he was allowed to wear a suit. Horner’s courtroom was packed with officers from the Fremont and Union City police departments today. Several of Barrientos’ family members, including his mother, also were present. Barrientos’ mother bowed her head and cried as Horner pronounced the lengthy sentence for him during today’s 90-minute hearing.
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