Army veteran Michael Foster doesn't remember very much about the early morning hours of Oct. 19, when he says he had a post-traumatic disorder flashback or PTSD at his Alpine home.
Army veteran Michael Foster doesn't remember very much about the early morning hours of Oct. 19, when he says he had a post-traumatic disorder flashback or PTSD.
"I was groggy, I was trying to figure out what had happened," Foster said in an exclusive interview with NBCSanDiego. "When I woke up I had a gun in my hand."
San Diego County Sheriff's investigators say hours earlier Michael was acting bizarrely and fired his gun near his wife Kim in their Alpine home.
Kim called 911, informing emergency responders her husband was having a PTSD flashback and he was suicidal.
Deputies surround the home on Japutal Road and used a loud speaker to try and communicate with Michael.
"They said "this is the sheriff's department, Michael we know you're having trouble, we want to help you," Foster said.
Michael says he walked out to his back patio, cradling the .357 blue revolver by the chamber so it couldn't be fired.
"They never said to drop the gun," Foster said. "I remember thinking "drop it" or bend over and put it on the ground, but I didn't want to make any sudden movements."
Michael says he was obeying the directions of deputies when they told him to head to the white vehicle in front of the home.
But in order to get there, Michael had to go back into the home from the patio and then walk to a sliding front door to exit.
Michael says when he turned around to go in he heard a shot.
"So, I figured it was a warning shot or something, so I just stood there and held my hands to the side, and about three to five seconds past and I heard multiple shots.
Deputies opened fire, spraying nearly 20 bullets at Michael, striking him five times in the back.
One bullet severed his spine, paralyzing him from the waist down.
"I fell to the ground and pushed the gun away so they wouldn't think I was shooting, and I rolled over and I saw my blood pouring out of me onto the cement," Foster said with tears in his eyes.
In an interview with NBCSanDiego immediately following the shooting, sheriff's investigators said Michael had fired first.
"Fired once, possibly twice at the deputies and they fired back at him and that's when he was shot," said Lt. Dennis Brugos last October.
But according to a search warrant obtained exclusively by NBCSanDiego, Michael's .357 revolver was fully loaded when it was collected for evidence.
"So, it was impossible that I fired a round," Foster said.
Michael believes a deputy may have accidentally fired the first shot, causing other deputies to open fire.
The District Attorney's office is now investigating the case to see if the shooting was justified and if charges should be filed against Michael.
"I feel like I've already been judged and sentenced by firing squad," Foster said.
Since the investigation is ongoing, sheriff's deputies are not allowed to talk about the case.
Michael is planning to file a civil lawsuit against the sheriff's department.
He currently faces several charges in a previous case including two felonies.
Four days before the shooting, Michael was involved in a bar fight at the casino Inn in Alpine.
One of the charges is for resisting arrest against a sheriff's deputy.
His next court appearance in that case is set for March 9.