LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ex-con was sentenced today to about 70 years in prison for opening fire with an AK-47 on two Los Angeles police officers - one of whom was severely wounded -- during an August 2006 traffic stop.
Jose Mercado Perez Jr., who was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta, pleaded guilty July 17 to two counts of assault with an assault rifle on a peace officer, along with one count of assault with an assault rifle involving a civilian who was targeted earlier that day. Perez, now 33, of Los Angeles, fired at LAPD Officers James Tuck and John Porras in what Chief William Bratton called 'nothing short of an attempted assassination'' after the lawmen stopped a Honda Accord in which he was riding on Aug. 12, 2006.
Tuck was struck three times, and one bullet nearly severed his left hand at the wrist. He has since returned to duty. Porras, who was struck by flying glass, returned fire and wounded Perez, who dropped the semiautomatic rifle and was arrested on the porch of a nearby home.
Perez, who has been jailed since then, entered his plea as jury selection was pending in his trial, and admitted that he had a prior conviction for robbery, according to Deputy District Attorney Frank Tavelman. Co-defendant Rogelio Saul Espinosa, who was driving the car in which Perez was riding, pleaded guilty to two assault charges. He was sentenced earlier to nearly 18 years behind bars.