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Gang member convicted of killing Oceanside police officer

April 20, 2009 |  2:24 pm

A Superior Court jury in Vista today convicted a second street-gang member of murdering an Oceanside police officer in 2006.

The jury deliberated for two days before convicting Meki Gaono, 20, of murdering officer Dan Bessant, 25, by firing a .22-caliber rifle at him from 400 feet away on Dec. 20, 2006, while Bessant was making a routine traffic stop.

Penifoti Taeotui was convicted last year and sentenced in January to life in prison without parole. Gaono faces the same penalty.

Prosecutors say both men fired shots at Bessant, with Gaono's shot striking Bessant just above his protective vest. They said the two were involved in a kind of gang initiation that required killing.

-- Tony Perry

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