An off-duty San Diego police officer who shot a woman and her young son during an apparent road rage incident learned his fate on Monday.
Rachel Silva and her then-8-year-old son were shot in an Oceanside parking lot by Frank White.
The jury convened at 4 p.m. and read its verdict soon afterward.
White was found not guilty of one count of felony gross negligent discharge of a firearm and not guilty of one misdemeanor count of displaying a firearm in an angry or threatening manner.
Officer White's wife put both her hands to her face in an apparent sigh of relief after the "not guilty" verdicts were read, but did not cry. Officer White closed his eyes then immediately hugged his lawyer, Richard Pinckard. He then walked a few steps to the courtroom gallery and hugged his wife. The White's refused to comment on the verdict, though Mrs. White told NBC 7/39 that she was thankful for the verdict.
During the trial, White and his wife told jurors they felt threatened by Silva, who clipped the White's car during the incident.
Defense lawyers told jurors during the trial that Silva had a "uncontrollable rage" and that her conduct was what was on trial and that is what the Whites were confronting that night and what justified his use of his gun to stop Silva. Attorney Rick Pinckard also 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."
Prosecutors, however, maintained that when White fired his gun into Silva’s car, it wasn't done in self-defense.
"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.
White had faced multiple weapons counts in the case. He could have been sentenced to up to nine years in prison if he was convicted on all charges.