Man charged with shooting CHP officer pleads insanity

SAN DIEGO, CA – A man accused of trying to grab a California Highway Patrol officer’s gun during an altercation on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley, leaving the officer shot in the leg, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on Tuesday to charges that include the attempted murder of a peace officer.

Yuhao Du, 25, is accused of throwing himself at CHP officer Antonio “Tony” Pacheco’s duty weapon on April 27, causing the gun to fire as the two men clung to the gun.

The events leading up to the shooting began around 6:15 p.m., when Du, a physics graduate student at UC San Diego, crashed his vehicle on eastbound Interstate 8 near the I-805 overpass, according to the CHP. .

Shortly after, Pacheco pulled up along the highway at the wreckage site and contacted Du, who was standing in the central midfield area, CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez said.

As Pacheco spoke with him, Du allegedly attacked him without warning, “rushing to his service weapon” and “trying to take control of it”, Sanchez said.

After Pacheco was shot in the thigh, Sanchez said “several passing motorists stopped to assist the injured officer by providing medical aid and restraining Du until law enforcement officers ( additional staff) are coming”.

The gunshot wounds suffered by Pacheco, who has two young children and whose wife, Janette, is pregnant, will require “extensive rehabilitation and possible surgery”, according to a page soliciting donations to help the family to meet the expenses during his recovery. .

A post dated last week on the page says Pacheco was first released from hospital and then readmitted due to “serious complications from the gunshot wound”.

In addition to attempted murder, Du is charged with assaulting a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm and removing and taking a firearm from an officer.

He remains in detention without bail. Following his plea on Tuesday morning, the next steps will be to have him examined by doctors.

One of Du’s attorneys, Anna Demidchik, said the plea was “a difficult decision for us to make.”

The lawyer said the decision was “discussed extensively with Mr. Du, but we believe that under the circumstances, it is the best way forward.”

With Demidchik’s translation, Du’s mother, Xiugin Li, issued a statement in court after her son’s arraignment, in which she said, “We really hope that Officer Pacheco can recover as soon as possible. possible. What happened must be extremely traumatic, not just for the officer… but also for his family.”

Li said she recently traveled to San Diego from China “to support my son during this difficult time.”

She said, “Yuhao has always been a very good, responsible and hardworking child… It breaks my heart to see him in this situation. But I trust the American justice system to get to the bottom of the matter and find the good resolution.”

Regarding the details of the case, Demidchik reiterated statements she had made during Du’s previous appearance, in which she said that videos on social media showed what happened to Du. the aftermath of the incident, but not the event itself.

— City News Service

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