Man faces life in prison after bizarre attack outside Santa Ana school

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A man faces life in prison following a bizarre incident outside a Santa Ana elementary school that ended with an officer being attacked. (KABC)

Police said a bizarre incident outside an Orange County elementary school ended with an officer getting attacked.

Authorities said the incident started outside Fremont Elementary in Santa Ana at about 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Two painters for the Santa Ana Unified School District said they were sitting in a truck outside the school when a man approached them.

"He tapped on the window and he said, 'You guys know what time it is?' So I looked at my cellphone and I said, 'It's 2:53,'" John Simich recalled.

Simich said the man took two steps, turned around, spit at the truck, then hit the passenger-side window with a PVC pipe.

The two co-workers were completely shocked.

"I was doing a good thing. He asked me a question, I did the polite thing by telling him what time it was," Simich said. "If I had the window down he would have hit me in the face."

The workers called the Santa Ana Unified School Police and said an officer quickly responded and confronted the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Enrique Martinez.

The district said Martinez ran from the officer, jumped into a car and sped into a neighborhood.

"He actually stopped, parked in front of a home that wasn't his, kicked the door in, went inside and just had erratic behavior," Deidra Powell with the Santa Ana Unified School District explained.

Authorities said Martinez ran out of the home and attacked the officer.

"Began choking him, and trying to poke his eyes, just a lot of violence," Powell said.

Officials said the officer was able to fight Martinez off with the help of a plain clothes Santa Ana officer.

Martinez was booked on several charges including attempted murder of a peace officer. The injured officer was expected to recover.

"This guy put his life on the line to help me, I got to be grateful you know," Simich said.

Martinez was due back in court on Oct. 13. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison.

Related Topics:
attempted murderassaultattackschoolschool safetySanta AnaOrange County
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