ST. GEORGE — A Washington City man was arrested at San Diego Police headquarters after he managed to get the arresting officer’s gun. Video captured at the time showed the suspect fire off several rounds from inside of the patrol vehicle, and, after a tense standoff, he was shot by police.
On Thursday, St. George News received information from Santa Clara-Ivins Police Sgt. Reed Briggs regarding the incident involving 25-year-old Keith Bergman III of Washington City who was also arrested locally after a run-in with officers in Ivins in May.
Bergman was scheduled to appear in 5th District Court for a felony roll call hearing on Tuesday. According to court records, the hearing was later canceled by court order. But, Bergman would not have made the appearance anyway since he had been shot and injured during an arrest by authorities in San Diego two days prior.
San Diego Police Sgt. Geoff DeCesari confirmed on Friday that an incident took place in the underground sally port of the police headquarters building, saying that the suspect “was injured by gunfire,” on Sunday. He also sent additional details of the incident as outlined in a statement to St. George News.
The incident was set in motion when officers responded to a call involving a man who was reportedly creating a disturbance at a downtown San Diego hotel where he was being subdued by hotel security Sunday evening, according to the statement released by the San Diego Police Department.
Officers took custody of the man, who was later identified as Bergman, and transported him to police headquarters for processing before he was booked into jail for being under the influence, having possession of a controlled substance and possession of credit cards that did not belong to him.
Once the officer got out of the patrol vehicle, which was parked in the underground sally port of the building, Bergman allegedly slipped out of his handcuffs and broke the divider that separates the prisoner’s seat before grabbing the officer’s secondary weapon out of a gear bag.
Several officers converged at the vehicle after hearing the commotion, but when they saw that Bergman was armed with the officer’s handgun, they backed away and yelled commands for him to drop the weapon, as seen in the video in this report.
The suspect refused to drop the weapon and then fired off “at least one round,” shattering the rear window, which is when two of the officers near the patrol car fired at the man, striking him “at least once” in the torso, San Diego Police Lieutenant Andra Brown said in the statement.
The officers continued yelling commands to the suspect as he got out of the vehicle and attempted to open several doors as he circled the patrol SUV. A third officer, believing the man had a weapon pointed in his direction, fired at the suspect just as Bergman reached into the driver’s door of the patrol car. A police K-9 was then released and bit the man, who was then subdued and taken into custody.
According to authorities, Bergman was “still armed with the handgun at the time of his arrest.”
A video capturing multiple angles of the incident was released by the San Diego Police Department.
Warning: Video contains graphic content, language and images that may be disturbing to some viewers.
On the morning of May 22, Santa Clara-Ivins Police officers had a similar experience with the man during a routine traffic stop on 200 East in Ivins for what was initially a speed violation.
Later, the suspect was placed in the front passenger’s seat of the K-9 officer’s patrol vehicle, which is typical since a K-9 vehicle is equipped with a cage that separates the officer from the suspect during transport, to be booked into jail for possession of a controlled substance and finance card offenses.
While en route to the jail, the suspect allegedly became combative and began hitting his head on the passenger’s side window minutes after the officer exited the interstate. The officer held the suspect’s head down to prevent injury or damage as he headed south on state Route 59 toward Purgatory.
Police say the suspect then raised his feet up and kicked the windshield until it shattered, prompting the officer to alert the jail he had a combative transport coming in. Minutes later, as the officer pulled up to the large inmate bay door of the jail, Bergman, still handcuffed, maneuvered his hands over to release his seat belt before he jumped from the vehicle and ran.
When the officer caught up with the suspect, a short struggle ensued before the officer was able to subdue Bergman until backup arrived. Shortly thereafter, he was booked into jail on multiple charges. He was released several days later after posting a $30,000 surety bond.
At the time of the incident in Utah, Briggs said the suspect began acting irrationally “very quickly” and also said officers were not aware that Bergman had prior incidents with other law enforcement agencies where he was reportedly combative after a traffic stop.
One such incident was reported two weeks before in Washington City in which Bergman was initially arrested for allegedly skipping out of more than $300 in hotel fees. That all changed after police say he kicked at the officers and made a number of aggressive threats toward police as they were taking him into custody. He was later charged with multiple crimes, including five misdemeanor counts of assault on a police officer and one count of interfering with an arrest.
Immediately after the San Diego incident, officers provided first aid to Bergman until San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel arrived on the scene and he was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was released a short time later and booked into jail.
The incident is under investigation as an officer-involved shooting by the San Diego Police Department’s homicide unit and will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Information on any pending charges against the suspect have yet to be released.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.