San Diego

‘I Thought I Was Dead': El Cajon Police Officer Testifies About Bloody Attack

“Once I’m dead I didn’t want to think that he would have taken my gun and shot everyone else in the restaurant," the officer testified

For the first time, we're hearing from an El Cajon police officer who was beaten unconscious in a bloody attack inside a fast food restaurant in July 2017. 

“I knew once I went out he was going to kill me,” Officer Jose Sioson said about the July 2017 that left him with a brain bleed and head trauma.

The man accused in the attack, Daniel Cook, appeared in court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing. A judge ruled that there was enough evidence for Cook to stand trial.

Cook has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts including assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest with force causing great bodily injury, robbery, possession of methamphetamine and being under the influence of methamphetamine.

Sioson, a 28-year veteran of the department, was hospitalized for a week with what officials described as significant head trauma. 

He described approaching Cook to question him about a theft at the Dollar Store. 

The officer testified, Cook asked if the officer had ever had the devil inside him. 

Soon after, Cook attacked the officer and began punching him. 

“After he head-butted me, I knew I was about to go out because my legs weren’t doing what I was asking them to,” Sioson said. “It felt like I was on ice skates.”


The officer immediately thought about using his firearm but decided not to, he testified.

“I contemplated pulling out my gun and shooting him but then I looked behind me and I noticed there were other people in the restaurant," he testified.

“Once I’m dead I didn’t want to think that he would have taken my gun and shot everyone else in the restaurant.” 

He even tried to land on his right side so as to land on his weapon.

The next thing he remembered, fellow officers were transporting him to a hospital for treatment. He told the court he was happy to be alive.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus driver, who was on her lunch break inside the KFC restaurant on Fletcher Parkway, watched the whole incident unfold. 

"He was laying on the ground, but he was trying to get up, but I seen him, just pass out," Iesha Booker told NBC 7 in a previous interview. "You could see his face swelling up as minutes were going by and you could see blood everywhere. So I knew he was injured, I didn't think he was gonna make it."


Cook was initially a suspect in a robbery at the Dollar Tree down the street. He was caught trying to steal a bottle of soda, police said.

When the suspect fled the restaurant, Booker grabbed the officer's radio and called for help. 

Sioson has not returned to duty since the incident. He's had surgeries to save his eyesight. Even so, he sees double when he looks up or down. The bones around his eye were broken and his sinus cavity was fractured. He's also undergone plastic surgery as part of his recovery.

Cook's next court appearance is scheduled for June 25. At that time, his defense attorney said he would plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

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