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Police chief's wife says she didn't fire shots at officers

June 11, 2012 |  7:13 pm

The wife of the Oceanside police chief testified Monday that she had been drinking and having suicidal thoughts before she called the police and initiated a standoff at her Cypress home, which authorities said culminated with her firing shots at officers.

Brinda Sue McCoy, 49, is accused of firing two shots at responding police officers with her husband's service weapon. She faces six felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer and one felony count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence.

Authorities said that when they arrived at McCoy’s home Dec. 16, 2010, she refused to come out of the house, where she could be seen pacing and talking on the phone. Prosecutors said that at one point, she pointed the gun at her own head and the ceiling.

On Monday, McCoy testified that during the ordeal she kept thinking of an incident days earlier when officers in Long Beach fatally shot a 35-year-old man who was clutching the nozzle of a garden hose. She said she thought Cypress police would probably shoot her as well.

McCoy said she was extremely distraught after a disagreement between her husband, Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy, and her son over an issue the 17-year-old was having at school. Her huband is also the former mayor of Cypress.

McCoy, a registered nurse, said that in the months leading up to the incident, she was being treated for psychological problems such as anxiety and had been working with her therapist to find a suitable medication.

When her son and husband sat down for dinner that evening, McCoy said, she went upstairs to sit in the home office and listen to music while she drank a martini, one of several she consumed.

When her son came upstairs to apologize, she said she responded with anger and that her husband became angered and left house with their son.

After the two left, she said she took a Klonopin, which is used to treat seizures and panic attacks. She said that when she had taken the medication in the past, it had calmed her. She said she continued to drink, feeling more and more distraught.

She testified that she listened to the song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan over and over, while suicidal thoughts welled up inside. McCoy kept thinking she needed to go to bed, she said, but then spotted her husband’s service weapon.

McCoy testified that she picked it up and went outside to fire a shot into the dirt, to make sure it worked.

She said she made several phone calls before dialing 911 and asked the police to help her. She said she wavered between wanting the police to kill her and knowing that she wasn’t thinking clearly.

She denied that she intentionally shot at police officers. "Absolutely not," she said when asked by her defense attorney.

“I believed that if I wasn’t there that my family and friends would be relieved that I wasn’t suffering anymore,” she said with a shaky voice.

The trial resumes Tuesday.


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