OCEANSIDE — “It’s not something that happens every day,” Officer Gabriel Nolasco said, after receiving an award for outstanding police teamwork, along with Officers Craig Marshall, Tim Ricci and Mike Myers.
Nolasco said the incident in May went down within a few minutes.
He and fellow officers were having a cup of coffee, when they noticed a man opened his trunk and left it ajar when he went into a store.
Their suspicions were raised.
Then a customer exited the same store and reported a man, armed with a knife, was making a hold up.
The officers evacuated the store, and confronted the suspect, who had moved to the back. Marshall gave him instructions to surrender peacefully.
Rather than cooperate, the suspect acted irrationally, walked towards the officers and told them to shoot him.
He came within 10 feet of the team, and Nolasco shot him with a nonleathal sponge round.
It did not stop the suspect.
Then Ricci used a taser, which caused the suspect to go to ground. After a brief struggle officers handcuffed and arrested him. An 8-inch K-bar knife was found in the suspect’s waistband.
Police Chief Frank McCoy praised the officers for using a systematic strategy and less-lethal weapons to apprehend the robber.
“This is a perfect example of our officers utilizing great restraint and not rushing to use deadly force when it was clearly justified, but not necessary,” McCoy said.
The award was given to the officers as part of a quarterly recognition ceremony on Wednesday.
Four times a year Oceanside Police recognize fellow officers, staff and volunteers for outstanding service.
Each department captain nominates an outstanding paid employee and a volunteer.
The chief selects an outstanding team.
Recent retirees and new hires are also recognized.
The ceremony is part “roast,” which includes friendly jokes, and a lot of praise.
Lt. Leonard Cosby said it’s a great boon to officers and staff to be recognized within the department.
“There is nothing we do as a department that is a one person operation,” Cosby said. “Officers, technicians, records clerks, it goes through the whole area. The awards are a reminder of the work that goes on.”
Awards were also given Tyrus Moulder, Field Operations Division employee; Tiara Coulter, Field Evidence Technician; Yaday Velasco, Program Specialist Administration Division; Muriel Carpentino, Senior Volunteer Patrol Program Member; and Joanna Buell, volunteer.
The quarterly awards have been given for years. The July recognition ceremony was the first one media was invited to attend.