Thomas Andrew Spence Took Hands Out of Undone Pants and Assaulted Deputy: Charges

A female Orange County Sheriff's deputy spotted a man in bushes near a Laguna Niguel garden center Wednesday with his hands in his pockets and his pant undone. So, she confronted him. A foot chase followed and, when she caught up with him, he allegedly tried to take her firearm and physically struggled with her as she tried to arrest him.

Now, 26-year-old Thomas Andrew Spence of Mission Viejo is looking at 18 years in state prison if he is convicted of the charges against him detailed in the Orange County District Attorney's Office statement that follows.

October 7, 2010


Courtesy of OCDA
Thomas Andrew Spence

SANTA ANA – A man has been charged with assaulting an Orange County
Sheriff's deputy by trying to take her firearm and physically struggling
when she attempted to arrest him. Thomas Andrew Spence, 26, Mission
Viejo, is charged with one felony count each of assault with a firearm
on a peace officer, removing a firearm from a peace officer, battery on a
peace officer with injury, and a sentencing enhancement for the
personal use of a firearm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of
18 years in state prison. Spence is being held on $150,000 bail and is
scheduled for arraignment today, Oct. 7, 2010, in Department CJ-1,
Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2010, Spence is accused of lying
outside between two bushes near Armstrong Garden Center in Laguna Niguel
with his hands down his pants, which were undone. Orange County
Sheriff's Deputy
Michelle Rodriguez observed the defendant and attempted
to contact him. When Spence saw the deputy, he is accused of removing
his hands from his pants and beginning to run away.

When Deputy Rodriguez caught Spence, the defendant is accused of
becoming aggressive. As the deputy attempted to detain the defendant,
Spence is accused of struggling with her and grabbing her flashlight.
Deputy Rodriguez drew her firearm and ordered the defendant to put down
the flashlight, fearing that he may use it as a weapon against her. As
Spence put the flashlight down, he is accused of advancing toward the
deputy and grabbing her firearm with both hands.

The defendant is accused of struggling with the deputy to take her
firearm. Deputy Rodriguez fired the weapon twice before it jammed.
Spence was not hit. Spence is accused of finally letting go of the
firearm and attempting to flee the scene. Responding back-up deputies
arrived and, with Deputy Rodriguez, arrested the defendant.

The deputy suffered scratches and abrasions to her temple, hands, elbow, knees, and hip.

Deputy District Attorney
Israel Claustro of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

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