A 58-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to shooting at but missing two Brea police officers and was immediately sentenced to a year in jail.
Thomas Michael Dawson of Yorba Linda pleaded guilty to two felony counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer and admitted sentencing enhancements for discharge of a firearm. He was also placed under three years of formal probation.
Police went to the Hyland Motel at 727 S. Brea Blvd. on Aug. 15, 2016, to check on the defendant’s welfare, police said.
When the officers tried to contact Dawson he refused to exit his room and paramedics were called to help.
As the officers were talking to Dawson from outside his motel room he opened fire through the wall, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The bullet nearly struck one officer in his head, missing by just six inches, prosecutors said.
Dawson’s attorney, Ed Welbourn, said his client, who was a county building inspector, was “in a very bad place in his life when this occurred.”
Dawson “never intended to hurt anyone or the police,” Welbourn added. “It was just an unfortunate series of events in his life that led to that. But he has great respect for the police.”
In the past, Dawson has volunteered for police charities, Welbourn said.
“Luckily, no one was injured and he feels good about that,” Welbourn said.
Dawson was given until Nov. 16 to report to jail.
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