Prosecutor: Man’s failure to provide info about gunman in apartment led to officer’s fatal shooting

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – If a probationer had told the truth about armed people
holed up in his southeast San Diego apartment nearly three years ago, a
police officer may not have been killed, a prosecutor told a jury Thursday.

Alex Charfauros, 29, is charged with murder, attempted murder and other
counts in connection with a probation check that ended in a fatal shootout in
which San Diego police Officer Christopher Wilson was killed.

The night of Oct. 27, 2010, county probation officers and U.S. marshals
went to Charfauros' apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive, Deputy District
Attorney Michael Runyon told jurors.

Probation officers were checking on Charfauros and the marshals were
looking for Holim Lee, who had outstanding warrants for assault with a deadly
weapon and a probation violation.

A man — not the defendant — opened the door and said Charfauros wasn't
home, then slammed it shut, Runyon said. Officers forced entry into the
apartment and after a while, Charfauros came crawling out of the east bedroom,
according to the prosecutor.

Once outside, officers asked Charfauros if there were any guns, drugs or
anyone else holed up inside, but the defendant was uncooperative, saying he
was at work, then sleeping, and providing no definitive information, Runyon

A number of San Diego police officers were called to assist, including
Wilson, who also questioned Charfauros about who and what was still in the
apartment, but the defendant said he didn't know, according to Runyon.

Once inside, a police officer kicked in the door of the west bedroom and
“all hell broke loose at that point,” Runyon told the jury in his opening

Wilson, a 17-year veteran and training officer, who shot in the head and
died a short time later. He was 50.

A police dog was shot in the snout but survived.

Among the things Charfauros failed to tell law enforcement was that Lee
and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were living in the apartment and that three
guns and a shotgun were “waiting on those officers,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant also failed to inform law enforcement that Patrick
Luangrath and Melissa Ortiz — who are also charged with murder but will be
tried separately — were in the apartment that night, according to Runyon.

After the gunfire broke out, an officer grabbed Charfauros, threw him
against a wall and asked, “Why didn't you say something? All you had to do was
tell us,” Runyon told the jury.

A couple hours later, Ortiz and Luangrath emerged from the east bedroom.
The bodies of Lee — believed to be the shooter — and Xayasene were found in
the west bedroom with self-inflicted gunshot wounds, and guns were nearby, the
prosecutor said.

“When they (officers) kicked in that door, they stepped into a small
armory that was fired at them,” Runyon said as he urged jurors to hold
Charfauros liable for Wilson's death.

Charfauros is charged in a separate case with conspiring to intimidate a
witness in the case.

In his opening statement, defense attorney David I. Berman said
prosecutors lacked the evidence to find Charfauros guilty of murder, saying Lee
was responsible for Wilson's death and that his client was wrongly accused.

Berman reminded jurors that Charfauros, who faces life in prison if
convicted, wasn't in the room with Lee when the gunfire broke out.

Charfauros' trial is expected to last three weeks in the courtroom of
Judge Kenneth So.

Categories: KUSI