A Los Angeles police officer who allegedly shot a fellow officer in the shoulder during an off-duty weekend camping trip near Apple Valley pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony count of assault with a firearm.
Ismael Tamayo, 44, was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail pending his next court date on May 11.
The charge, filed Tuesday, includes allegations that Tamayo personally used a Glock .40-caliber handgun and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on Mark Mascareno, a fellow officer in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division.
Tamayo was initially booked on suspicion of attempted murder in the wake of the shooting in the Stoddard Wells Off-Highway Vehicle Area, which was reported to the Los Angeles Police Department just after 1 a.m. Sunday.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and paramedics airlifted the 48-year-old wounded officer to a nearby hospital.
LAPD Force Investigation Division investigators went to the scene, as well, and began an internal investigation.
A third LAPD officer, identified by department officials as an off-duty supervisor, was also present at the campsite in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County but was unharmed.
The Los Angeles Times reported that multiple law enforcement sources who asked not to be identified said the three officers were camping, shooting their weapons and drinking alcohol in the hours before Mascareno was wounded.
Tamayo, a 13-year LAPD veteran who lives in Ontario, was relieved of duty pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigations, according to the LAPD.
“The events overnight culminating in the serious injury to one of our off-duty officers, apparently at the hands of another member of the department, give me great concern,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Sunday. “I spoke earlier this morning with San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon, pledging our full support of their criminal investigation. I am thankful our injured officer is in stable condition and is expected to survive. I am committed to determining what and how this happened.”
Tamayo’s attorney, Gregory Yacoubian, told the L.A. Daily News that “once the investigation shakes out, he’ll (Tamayo) be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. I think it’s obviously way too early to be making those kind of value judgments about what happened.”
He said his client spent did several overseas tours of duty during more than 20 years in the U.S. military.
On Tuesday, Moore released a statement via Twitter that appeared to refer to the Tamayo shooting, and also to an April 27 incident in which an LAPD officer is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a trespassing suspect during an altercation in Boyle Heights.
“Over the past several days there have been incidents reported in the news that are clearly not consistent with the core values of the Los Angeles Police Department. My pledge to you, is that when these instances occur and we fall short of your expectations there will be a thorough investigation. I intend to take a clear-eyed view and hold individuals accountable for behavior that is inconsistent with the high standards of this organization.”