A father grieving for his slain son -- an Oceanside police officer killed in the line of duty -- says he tried to help the suspect turn his life around before the shooting.
Steve Bessant has attended every court hearing about the fatal shooting of his son, Dan, who died in December 2006 in Oceanside not far from the back gate of Camp Pendleton.
On Monday, Bessant's father said he has Meki Gaono since Bessant was an assistant principal at El Camino High in Oceanside. He said Gaono was a very troubled teenager.
Gaono's trial began Monday. Gaono was 17 and a documented gang member when he allegedly fired the fatal shots that killed the officer, according to the North County Times.
On Monday, for the first time, Bessant heard details about his 25-year-old son's murder. Prosecutors said three gang members fired shots at Bessant and that Gaono fired the fatal bullets. Prosecutors said Gaono and two other gang members each fired their own weapons, but that Gaono's bullets hit and killed Bessant.
An Oceanside gang member, Penifoti Taeotui, was convicted last fall in connection with murder. In January, Taeotui was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the murder.
Authorities have concluded the killing was done for no other reason than it presented a chance for three documented gang members to gain respect, however warped, for shooting at police.