The attorney for an off-duty police officer who shot a woman and her young son during an apparent road rage incident told jurors Thursday that the woman was a threat to the officer and his wife.
Defense attorney Rick Pinckard told jurors Rachel Silva was a threat on the day of the shooting in March 2008. He said she was high on methamphetamine and alcohol when she instigated the incident involving officer Frank White.
In his closing argument to the North County jury, Pinckard told jurors that Silva had a "uncontrollable rage." He said her conduct is on trial and that is what the Whites were confronting that night and what justified his use of his gun to stop Silva. Pinckard said White's "simple trip to the grocery store" with his wife turned into "Frank White's worst nightmare."
Pinckard said White had a "reasonable" concern for his safety that night. The defense attorney also told jurors that Silva "repeatedly assaulted" the Whites with her car, that that was "no different than if she had lunged them with a knife."
Earlier in the week, prosecutors said that when White fired his gun into Silva’s car, it wasn't done in self-defense, the North County Times reported.
"He panicked," Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek said during closing arguments in the officer's trial. "There was no imminent threat (of death or injury)."
Dusek argued White emptied his five-shot revolver into a Honda Accord because it "surprised him, startled him" when the Honda clipped his car.
"He pulled a gun," Dusek said. "It didn't need to be out. It shouldn't have been out."
White faces multiple weapons counts in the case. He could be sentenced to up to nine years in prison if he is convicted on all charges.