VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Victorville man accused of attempted murder and assault with a firearm on a peace officer has been found not guilty on both charges, despite cell phone video that showed a violent attack on a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy in 2019.
"Disbelief, I didn't believe it," said Meagan McCarthy, the deputy injured in the attack. "I think it took a couple hours to actually hit me."
The suspect, Ari Young, suffers from schizophrenia. He was found guilty of negligent discharge of a firearm. But the jury hung on three other charges: battery against a peace officer, removal of an officer's sidearm and resisting arrest.
The incident took place on Sept. 4th, 2019 on Cabazon Ct. in Victorville. McCarthy was responding to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance.
"All the information that dispatch relayed to me was a woman was on the phone saying 'Oh my god, oh my god; get my son out of here,'" said McCarthy. "As I'm walking up to the front door of that house, I see the front door open, and out comes the male -- the suspect -- and the woman who I assume is the reporting party. And she has a knife in her hand and she's on the phone with dispatch."
"I make it just onto the driveway and he confronts me head on. He's very, very angry; he's very upset. His fists are clenched. I walk around behind him, and put his hands at the small of his back. I tell him to relax, it's OK, ask him what's going on, just to pat him down for weapons and that set him off and began the assault," she continued.
Video shot by a neighbor through an upstairs window appears to show Young and McCarthy struggling. As McCarthy falls to the ground, there's a struggle over her firearm. Young is then able to remove the weapon from McCarthy.
"I turn and I run, and I run for the nearest cover I can find which is a bush. And I hear a gunshot go off, and I knew he was shooting at me," said McCarthy.
Other deputies arrive moments later, and a deputy-involved shooting occurred. Young was shot several times and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
"It does look bad when you look at it at first glance," said Young's defense attorney, Raj Maline. "If you don't ever look at it again or don't study it, certainly it looks like my client is shooting at the deputy."
But Maline said during the trial it was revealed that McCarthy ran toward a bush that was not in the direction that Young fired the handgun.
"We know exactly where she went, which was due south," said Maline. "And we know where he fired because there's a bullet hole in the garage which shows he fired, which was northeast which was in the direction he was walking, which was completely opposite of where she was."
As for the other charges-battery on a peace officer, removing an officer's firearm and resisting arrest-the jury could not reach a verdict. Maline said jury instructions required the jury to find that McCarthy had been lawfully performing her duties at the time of the attack, and he argued that she wasn't acting lawfully.
"You can't detain somebody because you want to do an investigation," said Maline. "The jury instruction that the court read to the jury said if you want to detain somebody, you have to have a reasonable suspicion that they're engaged in criminal activity."
The one charge Young was found guilty on was negligent discharge of a firearm. Because he'd already been behind bars long enough to serve that sentence, he was released.
McCarthy maintains that she was acting lawfully throughout the entire encounter.
"I was called to that house; I see a situation where there's a woman in such fear for her life that she's armed for a knife; I have every right to believe maybe he has a weapon," said McCarthy. "Maybe he's done something that she's in fear? I would be derelict in my duty if I didn't investigate.
"I can only do what I can do; I'm a human being, I tried to do my job to help this woman and unfortunately the suspect's actions dictated the rest (of what happened) which we all saw."
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office said there's a pretrial hearing set for June 30 on the three charges in which the jury was unable to determine verdicts.