Sailor Shot By Police Pleads “Not Guilty” From Hospital Bed

A navy sailor, who was shot by a San Diego police officer in his apartment complex near Horton Plaza, was arraigned from his hospital bed on Wednesday. With his criminal defense attorney by his bedside, 24-year-old Esteban Nandin plead “not guilty” to one count of exhibiting a firearm to a police officer. He was ordered to remain held on $100,000 bail.

According to police, Nandin was armed and wearing a tactical vest, along with a gas mask, when he raised his military-style-assault- rifle at one of their own. The police shooting incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Sunday in the stairwell area of the Market Street Square Apartments. Police stated they were responding to reports from neighbors who witnessed seeing a man wearing body armor and carrying guns.

During their search for the suspect, Officer Charles Marciniak, a canine handler, located Nandin after opening a door to a stairwell landing. The two were face to face when Nandin raised his rifle at Officer Marciniak stated police investigators. The officer fired, hitting Nandin in the arm and sending shrapnel into his upper torso. Nandin retreated back into the stairwell and did not surrender for almost one hour. He emerged from the building unarmed with bleeding wounds to his arm and chest.

Nandin was transported in critical condition to UCSD Medical Center in HIllcrest, authorities said. His defense attorney stated that Nandin was facing an upcoming surgery. However, he didn’t elaborate on his personal injuries or his condition. According to Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret, Nandin faces three years in prison if convicted.

“The case is under investigation so there could be additional charges in the future,” said Eacret. “We’ve analyzed the facts of this case and made the decision on those charges at this time.”

According to Lieutenant Commander Donnell Evans with the Navy, Nandin is a 2nd Class Petty Officer and he is stationed at the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base. He has worked there as an electronic technician for the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit since March 2012. Nandin’s defense attorney stated that investigations revealed that his client’s rifle was unloaded, and that he was not carrying ammunition on him. In addition, he said Nandin was wearing a military-style Camelback water backpack, not a tactical vest.

Although 2nd Class Petty Officer Nandin was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to May 2009, Navy officials stated his file indicates no history of PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). Investigators have not identified a motive for Nandin’s actions, but they do suspect alcohol may have been involved.

As a criminal defense attorney, I am always intrigued by cases involving police shootings. As a former police officer myself, I often question whether the criminal actions of a suspect warrant the measures taken by some cops. Was this a case of self-defense, as well as a public safety issue, or was it excessive use of force? In order to be fair, one must wait for all the facts to be in, before casting judgement. As our Constitution mandates, we all innocent until proven guilty by reasonable doubt.

Sources: “Sailor Shot by Cop Arraigned in Hospital” U~T San Diego, Oct. 17, 2012
“Gaslamp Standoff Suspect Arraigned in Hospital” NBC 7 San Diego, Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012
“Man Shot by Police Arraigned in Hospital Bed” FOX 5 San Diego, October 17, 2012