San Diego

‘Predator and his Prey,' DA Says of Suspect Accused of Shooting Off-Duty Deputy

The trial for the man accused of shooting an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and a bystander started Friday with the prosecutor showing surveillance video that tracked the movement of the suspect before and after the shooting.

This is a case of a “predator and his prey” prosecutor Michael Riley said during opening statements.

Ray Pitoau is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Off-duty San Diego sheriff's Deputy Jason Philpot, 36, was with his brother after attending a Metallica concert at Petco Park on Aug. 6, 2017. They met up with several other friends afterward in downtown.

Philpot was shot three times early Aug. 7, he said, while trying to protect his brother, who had gotten into a verbal confrontation with the suspect.

“I don’t remember the exact words he was saying. I remember he was swearing and he told my brother that he was going to kill him,” Philpot, who is currently on light duty, said Friday.

One of the shots passed through Philpot and hit a bystander, who was wounded in the arm.

During opening statements, Riley put on a pair of black plastic gloves to demonstrate Pitoau’s intentions.

He showed the jury various clips of surveillance video.

One clip showed Pitoau sitting on a railing in front of a restaurant. Riley said Pitoau was carrying a .38 caliber handgun and plastic gloves.

After the shooting, Riley said Pitoau ran from the scene and was seen on other surveillance cameras.

He was seen at a parking garage, where a pair of black plastic gloves was found. The video shows him leaving the garage after taking off his shirt, and putting up his hair, Riley said, to change his appearance.

Later, the defendant was seen near Petco Park, where the weapon used in the shooting was found.

He was then seen at a nearby trolley station.

Pitoau was found about a month later in Tijuana. Riley showed a photograph after his arrest. He had shaved off his goatee and cut his hair short, Riley said to change his appearance.

In her opening statement, Pitoau’s defense attorney suggested the off-duty deputy and his friends may have started the confrontation. She said the group had been drinking and was kicked out of a nearby bar for disorderly conduct.

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