Thomas Andrew Spence, Who Assaulted Deputy After Playing with Himself, Gets 4 Years

It was that Thomas Andrew Spence was lying near bushes near Armstrong Garden Center in Laguna Niguel and having his hands down his undone pants that caught the attention of Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Michelle Rodriguez the night of Oct. 6, 2010.

It's what Spence later did with his hands that resulted in the Mission Viejo 28-year-old being sentenced today to four years in state prison.

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When Spence saw Rodriguez, he removed his hands from his pants and ran away. But when the deputy caught up with him, he "became aggressive," as an Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) statement notes.

As she fired her Taser weapon at Spence's chest, it struck his tie, doing nothing to stop him. After Rodriguez reached for her baton and struck Spence in the knee, the unfazed man took away her flashlight.

That prompted the deputy to take out her service weapon, point it at Spence and order him to drop the flashlight. After putting down the light, Spence advanced at the deputy and, with both hands, took away her gun. That led to a physical struggle that resulted in Rodriguez retrieving her weapon and firing it twice at Spence before it jammed. He was not hit.

He then got up and ran away before being chased down by Rodriguez and other deputies who had by then responded to her back-up call. She was left with scratches and abrasions to her temple, hands, elbow, knees and hip.

Spence pleaded guilty today to one felony count each of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, removing a firearm from a peace officer, and battery on a peace officer with injury.

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