Bodycam video released of man who requested help at police HQ, pulled gun on cops
New video shows a man using a police station's call box to ask for help, and then pointing a gun at responding officers
By Alex Riggins
The San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN DIEGO — Footage released Thursday by the Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department showed officers firing dozens of shots at a man who requested assistance from them at police headquarters and then pulled out a gun when an officer offered his help.
The April 10 shooting wounded 29-year-old Eric Jesus Medina, who remained jailed without bail Thursday. He has been charged with assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon.
Officers shot Medina, who was seated in the driver's seat of a car, around 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Police Department's headquarters on North Harbor Drive, just across the roadway from the San Diego International Airport.
Surveillance footage shows Medina approaching the front door of Harbor Police headquarters while appearing to speak with someone on his cellphone. After knocking on the locked doors, he uses a call box to briefly speak with a dispatcher.
"I was wondering if you could help me right here outside in front?" Medina asks.
The dispatcher tells him, "Yeah," and asks, "What can we do for you?"
Without answering, Medina says, "Thank you," then closes the call box and walks away.
According to police, he then got into his Honda Civic and pulled toward the front of the building, parking parallel to the front entrance.
A few minutes later, Officer James Macmaster walks out the front doors, pausing near the top of a small staircase. He waves at Medina and asks, "You want to talk to an officer? What's going on?"
The footage — from both a security camera and Macmaster's body-worn camera — shows that as he slowly steps down into the parking lot, Medina pulls out a handgun. Macmaster quickly retreats behind a concrete pillar and radios that the man has a gun.
As Macmaster yells for the man to put his hands up and drop the gun to the ground, Medina holds up both hands, gripping the pistol with his right hand. He then swings it toward his open driver's side window and Macmaster opens fire.
Macmaster is soon joined by Lt. Victor Banuelos, who fires at Medina through the front window of the lobby, and Sgt. Scott Ferraioli, who runs outside and takes cover behind another pillar. Both MacMaster and Ferraioli fire all the shots in their first clips, then reload and fire additional shots, their spent shell casings gathering near their feet.
According to police, officers then approached Medina's car behind a ballistic shield, saw that he was critically injured and no longer holding the gun and took him into custody. Police did not provide footage of this part of the incident.
Paramedics took Medina to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. He was arraigned last week in his hospital room and faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Kelsey Hollander.
Homicide detectives from the San Diego Police Department are investigating the shooting, as they do for all police shootings in the city. The county District Attorney's Office will then review the investigation to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability.
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.
©2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.