Fountain Valley police were justified in shooting a 17-year-old boy who engaged them in a gunbattle just after Christmas in 2010, prosecutors said today.
David Vinh Dinh, who was convicted of felony attempted voluntary manslaughter, is serving a 10-year prison sentence handed down in September. He could have faced up to 45 years to life in prison had he been convicted of attempted murder, but jurors found him guilty of the lesser charges in part because Dinh was suffering from bipolar disorder at the time of the Dec. 28, 2010, shooting.
Dinh's attorney, Lew Rosenblum, said the finding by the Orange County District Attorney's Office was not unexpected.
"Given the state of the evidence, it does seem the police were justified in taking the action that they did," Rosenblum told City News Service. "We wish the situation hadn't gone that far and that his parents had a chance to talk to him, but given the nature of the circumstances it's understandable. I'm just glad no one was seriously hurt."
Dinh -- who was 17 at the time of the shooting at the Corte Bella apartments, but was charged as an adult -- claimed he was suffering from a manic episode that had him believe he was going through a recruitment process for the CIA.
A combination of sleeplessness and failure to take his anti-psychotic medication led him to the violent shootout with police, Rosenblum said.
At his sentencing in September, Dinh apologized to Fountain Valley Officer Rick Nilos, an Iraq War veteran.
Dinh broke into a home in which he mistakenly thought his friend lived and held the resident hostage with an air gun before he rummaged through the residence and found a cache of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle.
Dinh loaded the assault rifle.
About a dozen officers surrounded the home when Dinh opened fire on Nilos.
Nilos, two detectives and a sergeant fired at Dinh, who survived 38 gunshot wounds to his arms, legs and chest, according to Deputy District Attorney Aleta Bryant, who investigated the shooting.