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Police chief's wife guilty in O.C. standoff with officers

June 18, 2012 | 12:16 pm

The wife of Oceanside's police chief was found guilty Monday of assault after she barricaded herself in the family's Orange County home and then fired her husband's service revolver in the direction of police officers who had swarmed the neighborhood.

Jurors found Brinda Sue McCoy guilty on five counts of assault and a single count of firing a gun with negligence. She was found not guilty on a single assault charge.

McCoy, who said during two days of dramatic testimony that she was gripped by suicidal thoughts after taking prescription drugs and drinking martinis, sobbed as the verdict was read. Jurors appeared shaken, and some teary-eyed.

McCoy faces a possible 60-year prison sentence.

McCoy, whose husband is the former mayor of her hometown of Cypress, testified that she was in a suicidal spiral at the time of the Dec. 16, 2010, incident and considered putting her husband's service resolver to her own head at one point, before barricading herself in the home instead.

The 49-year-old mother testified that she had hazy thoughts that a police officer would shoot and kill her. She said she recalled an incident days earlier in which Long Beach police had shot and killed a man wielding a garden hose nozzle. She said she figured she would meet the same fate.

Before and during the standoff, McCoy said, she called friends, a daughter and a nurse practitioner, telling them or leaving messages that she was sorry and which two songs to play at her funeral.

"Nobody would think twice if I died," she said she remembers thinking.

But Deputy Dist. Atty. Rebecca Olivieri pointed out that a 911 tape captured McCoy telling police that she would shoot despite warnings that she could hurt an officer.

Olivieri suggested that McCoy was angry at her husband and considered the standoff a way to deal him the "ultimate embarrassment."

The standoff ended when McCoy eventually crawled to the front door. She was shot with a beanbag gun and arrested.


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Photo: Brinda Sue McCoy, the wife of Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy, cries in court after a jury in Orange County Superior Court found her guilty on five counts of assault and a single count of firing a gun with negligence. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times