A man considered to be the prime suspect in a county employee’s shooting death in Oregon was convicted Wednesday of trying to kill a Los Angeles police officer who was responding to a call of a car burglary in Hollywood.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated just over a day before finding Dirck White, 43, guilty of one count each of attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a police officer, exhibiting a firearm with intent to resist arrest, second-degree burglary of a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna told jurors that White shot Clackamas County Assistant Weighmaster Grady Waxenfelter — an employee of the county’s police services division — three times in the head during a Feb. 6, 2014, traffic stop, and was “on the run” for about 10 months before two Los Angeles police officers responded to a call of a car break-in in the 5400 block of Lemon Grove Avenue on Nov. 30, 2014.
“It’s these two officers that are standing between him and freedom,” Serna told the panel, saying that “White took off running with “a crucial piece of evidence against him … the murder weapon” in the Oregon killing.
“The only way that he’s going to get away from this” is to fire on one of the officers once they split up, Serna said. “You think there’s any way in God’s green Earth that he’s going to surrender?”
When Officer Stuart Jaye fired twice and struck White in the arm, White slid around the front of a parked vehicle and fired back, the prosecutor said.
“His aim was a little bit low,” and the bullet hit the roof of a car, according to Serna.
Jaye’s partner ultimately shot White in the face, incapacitating him, Serna told jurors.
Neither of the officers were wounded.
The casing found at the scene was matched by ballistics experts to the gun used to shoot Waxenfelter in Oregon, according to the prosecutor.
White’s attorney contended that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and used the Oregon shooting to cover up that failure.
“It inflames your passions and it gets you all riled up,” the defense lawyer said.
But she acknowledged that her client had broken into the car and said it would be “fair” if jurors wanted to convict him of the burglary count.
White is facing at least 35 years to life in prison, with sentencing set for May 26, according to the prosecutor.
— Wire reports
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