My Bad: Officer Misfire Hits Suspect

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Oct 15, 2009  |  Updated 8:44 AM PDT
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An investigation into an officer involved shooting on the peninsula is reading like the Keystone Cops.

The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office says a San Mateo police detective who shot a man while serving a search warrant did it by accident after tripping on a curb.

This all happened on Aug. 13.  Police were staking out a home of an alleged gang member suspected of selling meth named Hector Ramirez, Jr.

The man they were looking for finally came out of the house and got in a car that had just pulled up to the home.

When police surrounded that car, its driver, Joseph Ortega, hit the accelerator. That's when detective Kurt Rodenspiel jumped into action.

He was carrying a MP5 with the safety off. 

The report tells the story.  First Rodenspiel stumbled on the curb. He must have had his finger on the trigger because when he lost his balance the gun went off.   The bullet pierced the trunk of the car as well as a seat, or two, before striking the driver.

Ortega did recover, but he had to breathe through a tube for a full 24 hours.

Investigators said his first words after having the tube removed were, "(Expletive) pigs shot me." 

Based on the findings, the detective will not be charged with a crime.

Ortega, who wasn't the person who police were looking for, has now been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a police officer because police say he tried to hurt them when he jammed on his accelerator.  Both are felonies.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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