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Man Who Had Hands Down Pants and Grabbed Deputy's Gun Gets 4 Years

A Mission Viejo resident is sentenced after scuffling with a female sheriff's deputy at Armstrong Garden Center in Laguna Niguel.

A Mission Viejo man will spend four years in state prison after scuffling with a female sheriff's deputy and grabbing her gun.

Andrew Thomas Spence, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to three felonies, including assault with a firearm against a peace officer.

The case unfolded around 9:40 p.m. Oct. 6, 2010, when Spence was spotted lying between two bushes near Armstrong Garden Center in Laguna Niguel, according to a press release from the Orange County district attorney's office.

He had his hands down his pants and fled when he saw Deputy Michelle Rodriguez, prosecutors said.

She gave chase and, when Spence allegedly became aggressive, tried to zap him with her Taser. But the shocking dart apparently hit Spence's tie, rendering it useless, prosecutors said.

When Spence then moved toward Rodriguez, she hit him in the knee with her baton. Unfazed, he grabbed the flashlight, prompting Rodriguez to draw her gun and order him to put the flashlight down. The deputy thought "he might use it as a weapon against her," according to the D.A.

Spence dropped the light, but as he did, grabbed the deputy's firearm with both hands, trying to take it away, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez fired two shots before the weapon jammed. Both bullets missed, but Spence let go of the gun and ran away. He was later captured by Rodriguez and other responding deputies, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez was cut and bruised on her temple, hands, elbow, knees and hip, prosecutors said.

Shirley September 25, 2012 at 02:46 AM
The good guys finally win one. However doing the math, it seems Andrew will be sprung from jail soon. This happend 10/6/10 & considering sentences are cut in half these days looks like he's be a free felon in a couple of weeks. Crime pays for some.

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