SAN DIEGO — A San Diego police officer who allegedly brandished a gun at a man while off duty outside a Pacific Beach bar was ordered Monday to stand trial on charges that include assault with a deadly weapon.
Trevor Sterling, 34, is accused of pulling the firearm in a threatening manner on Joseph Kuyrkendall, a Navy Seal BUDS trainee. This happened on July 31 outside Moonshine Beach on Garnet Avenue.
Sterling, who has been with the department for nine years and was assigned to the Special Operations Unit, remains out of custody.
Sterling was arrested on the night of the incident after police responded to a call of a man creating a disturbance and displaying a firearm in a threatening manner outside the bar. Sterling allegedly was carrying a personal firearm during the incident.
“Mr. Sterling approached me and pulled out what looked liked a .45 but at the time I thought it was a flare gun out of his pants in the front and put the revolver to my right,” said Kuyrkendall.
Surveillance footage from that night shows Sterling walking a few feet away from Kuyrkendall inside the line. The Navy Seal trainee said Sterling appeared to be highly intoxicated.
“It was a large gun and I thought at the time that ‘surely in God’s name no one is pulling a gun out here,'” said Kuyrkendall.
He then told the courtroom he attempted to deescalate the situation.
“I was telling Mr. Sterling that whatever he wanted to do we were not going to do it. We would not be taking care of any business,” said Kuyrkendall.
Sterling faces a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, as well as a misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm.
Sterling’s attorney Patrick Griffin made a motion for a reduction to a misdemeanor but the judge denied that- motion. Sterling was bound over on all charges.
At the time of his arrest, SDPD spokesman Lt. Adam Sharki said Sterling was suspended without pay by SDPD Chief David Nisleit. An update regarding Sterling’s employment status was unavailable Monday.