San Diego

Man Who Bit SDSO Deputy, ‘Growling Like an Animal' in Vista Confrontation, Faces Felony Charges: DA

The incident began early Sunday when a suspect entered a 7-11 in Vista and emptied a two liter bottle of soda onto his head and threw it at the store window before walking out.

A man who bit a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy, "growling like a dog" in a hostile confrontation, faces two felony charges connected to the incident, according to the District Attorney's office. 

Casey Clason pleaded not guilty to two felony charges in connection with a fight with several Sheriff's deputies early Sunday morning. The Judge denied bail because of a previous felony arson conviction. 

The incident, caught on camera, unfolded at approximately 4 a.m. when Clason walked into a 7-Eleven on E. Vista Way and Vale Terrace in Vista, emptied a liter of Coke on his head, spiked the bottle to the ground and then walked out of the convenience store, Deputy DA Keith Watanabe said. 

The man was visibly distraught, deputies said, so the employees at the store called 911 for help. 

Deputies responded to the scene and found Clason in the parking lot of a nearby church, with his hands wrapped around a flag pole. 

Despite commands, Clason ignored the deputies and walked away. 

When the deputies tried to detain him, Clason became violent right away and tried to kick deputies while on his back, SDSO Captain Charles Cinnamo said. Deputies called for back up. 

The incident quickly escalated as both deputies tried to Tase the defendant, Watanabe said. 

Then a fight began, Watanabe said. Clason bit one of the deputy's legs and refused to let to, Watanabe said. 

Multiple deputies rushed to the scene, hitting Clason and striking with with flashlights until the deputy was able to escape Clason's jaws. 

"During this entire encounter the defendant had bitten down on a deputy sheriffs calf and was growling like an animal and refused to let go," Watanabe said. "The deputies did what they needed to do in order to protect themselves from this type of behavior from the defendant."

The deputy's pants were able to protect him from the full impact of Clason's bite, Watanabe said. 

Deputies initially suspected Clason was under the influence, but officials have not received a full toxicology report yet. 

If convicted, Clason could spend three years and eight months in prison. 

He will next appear in court on May 5 for a readiness. 

The investigation into this incident is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Diego Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.

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