San Diego Police Officer Announced Officer of the Year

The Scottish Rite organization named San Diego Police Officer Ross Bainbridge "Top Cop"

A San Diego police (SDPD) officer was honored Wednesday as the county's Officer of the Year for his act of bravery that saved a woman's life in City Heights.

Officer Ross Bainbridge, a 13-year veteran of SDPD, shot and killed suspect Juan Carlos Fernandez on Nov. 13, 2016.

Fernandez had his ex-wife Isabel Gonzalez in a headlock and was holding her hostage at gunpoint.

Bainbridge was the first officer on the scene.

"When I get there, I just responded to what I saw happening in front of me," Bainbridge said, recalling the incident.

From his body-worn camera, Bainbridge appeared to be holding a shotgun and running toward Fernandez. During the split second when Gonzalez pulled away just enough from Fernandez, Bainbridge fired.

"There is not a whole lot of time to think about or formulate some type of plan," he told NBC 7. "You are seeing what is going on, then you're responding to what you are seeing with the training you brought from the scene."

Further investigation revealed Fernandez had earlier killed his ex-wife's parents, Reyna and Julian Gonzalez, and then shot at Isabel but the gun misfired.


Bainbridge was announced Officer of the Year Wednesday night, along with officers from 19 other departments, who were also recognized for meritorious work.

"You heard some of the other things the other officers did were pretty incredible," Bainbridge said.

He added that he looks back on that night as a teaching moment--a grateful moment.

"I am just thankful to be here. There are a lot of different outcomes that could have happened that night," Bainbridge said.

As for his future plans, Bainbridge said he is happy to be back to work.

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