Witness: Teens ‘Testing Guns' on Night Of Cop Slaying

Teen On Trial For Officer's Slaying

Damaging testimony was delivered in a North County courtroom about two alleged gang members accused of shooting Oceanside police Officer Dan Bessant in 2006.

Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Tom Manning, a relative of Penifoti Taeotui, who is charged with murder, testified Monday that the 18-year-old shared details about the shooting.  That included that Taeotui and his alleged accomplice, Mekhi Gaono, 19, were drunk on the night of Dec. 20, and fired two separate weapons at the officer, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Two neighbors testified on Tuesday. They said after hearing shots fired, they saw a person running down the street, holding a riffle in his right hand.  That person witnesses say, was Gaono.  He is accused of firing the shot that killed Bessant and will be tried later his year. 

Taeotui did not show any emotion while hearing witnesses testify, but it was a different story for Bessant's father.

"It's an emotional endurance contest ," Steve Bessant told NBC 7/39.  "He was a good husband and in just a couple of months showed himself to be a super father."

Prosecutors allege Taeotui, who was 16 at the time, was drinking with two of his friends, including Gaono, behind a brick mailbox in an Oceanside neighborhood. Shots were fired 386 feet away from where officer Bessant was standing. One bullet ended his life.

Prosecutors said they have over 75 witnesses in the case. If convicted, the suspects will face life in prison and not the death penalty because they were minors when the shooting happened.

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