San Diego

Man Accused of Knocking Out Police Officer Found Competent to Stand Trial

The results of a mental competency hearing determined that Daniel Cook, 42, is competent to stand trial.

A man who underwent a psychiatric evaluation after he allegedly knocked out an El Cajon police officer with his fists was found competent to stand trial Monday.

Prosecutors confirmed the results of a mental competency hearing for 42-year-old Daniel Cook. He allegedly attacked the police officer after he was confronted for a suspected robbery.

Cook faces five felony counts of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest with force causing great bodily injury, robbery, possession of methamphetamine and being under the influence of that drug.

Previously, Cook pleaded not guilty in court.

The officer--a 28-year veteran of the department--was responding to a petty theft call when he was punched multiple times and knocked to the ground. 

The incident took place around 10 a.m. on Monday, July 17. Witnesses reported a petty theft at the Dollar Tree on Fletcher Parkway, near Johnson Avenue. Police spotted Cook and followed him into a nearby KFC restaurant.

When police confronted him about the theft, a scuffle ensued. That's when Cook punched the officer repeatedly in the face until he fell unconscious.

Even after the officer was knocked out, Cook continued to attack him, witnesses said. He then fled the scene.

Cook was originally arrested and charged with attempted murder. After reviewing the case, the District Attorney formally charged him with assault on a police officer instead.

His bail was set at $500,000. Prosecutor Jeff Lazar said the bail was higher than the scheduled amount for these crimes.

Officers later apprehended Cook and he was booked into San Diego County Jail. The involved officer suffered serious head trauma and has been hospitalized. There was no update available on his current condition.

Cook will next appear in court on Dec. 20, and his preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 26. If convicted, Cook faces 62 years to life in prison.

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