A 29-year-old San Diego man shot in the face by Costa Mesa police during a New Year’s Eve shootout with officers pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to 21 years in prison for attempting to kill an officer and a woman.
Officers were called about a possibly suicidal man armed with a gun near Orange Avenue and Palmer Street just before 3:45 p.m. Dec. 31, 2019, according to Costa Mesa Police Department Lt. Ed Everett.
An officer in the area spotted Steven Taylor Fernandez about 4 p.m., but he ran away, firing several shots at the officer, who was not injured, Everett said
Fernandez fled through a home, threatening a woman smoking in the backyard before he hurdled a fence and dashed into a next door garage in the 200 block of Knox Place, according to Everett. Fernandez shot at that resident, who escaped injury.
Fernandez remained in the garage for about two hours as SWAT officers attempted to negotiate with him, then brandished a gun, prompting the officer-involved shooting about 6:35 p.m., Everett said.
Fernandez was rushed to Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, he said.
Police recovered two guns from him, Everett said.
Fernandez pleaded guilty to attempted murder on a peace officer, attempted murder, discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, grossly negligent discharge of a gun, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and criminal threats.
Fernandez also admitted a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a firearm.
As part of the plea deal a sentencing enhancement for attempted premeditated murder was dropped. He could have faced up to 93 years to life in prison if convicted at trial of the original charges.