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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Oakland, California 08/27/2010

Fremont, Calif., police officer Todd Young and his partner's pursuit of an armed and dangerous gang member led to an exchange of pistol fire that seriously wounded Young.

June 13, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

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Fremont (Calif.) Police Officer Todd Young. Photo: FPD
Fremont (Calif.) Police Officer Todd Young. Photo: FPD

Like many cops, it wasn't unusual for Fremont, Calif., police officer Todd Young to put in more than an eight-hour work day. August 27, 2010, was no exception. Having already assisted in the service of several DEA warrants that morning in Oakland, Todd and his partner, Eric Tang, decided to lag behind the rest of their task force awhile before heading for the barn.

They did so in hopes of locating a wanted Union City gang member whose ex-girlfriend had said that he'd been hanging out in the area.

Parking on Aueson Street a few doors down from the possible location, they settled into surveillance mode. Their game plan was to get a set of eyes on the perp and then notify Oakland officers and let them take him down. Their vigil lasted until 2:30 in the afternoon when they observed a trio of males congregating around a Chevy Avalanche. The young men's attire—thick clothing and hoodies—stood out on the warm summer day. One of the three closely approximated the description of their quarry: a fat 21-year-old named Andrew Barrientos.

In hopes of getting a marked patrol unit there as soon as possible, Tang rang the Oakland police on his cell phone. But when the males started to open the doors of the Avalanche, both officers realized that their window of opportunity to take down Barrientos, a man who'd reportedly threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and their six-month-old baby, was closing. That, coupled with the fact that Barrientos was already wanted on a high-speed pursuit warrant, was enough to force their hand: They would try to take him down themselves.

The Fremont officers' hopes hung on whatever element of surprise their unmarked car afforded them on their approach. But as they slowed for a speed bump, Barrientos turned toward them. They might not have been wearing police uniforms, but for Barrientos the sight of a male white and a male Asian was enough—the fat man bolted as fast as his unconditioned legs would allow.

As Barrientos ran down the sidewalk, Young pulled abreast of him. He pulled the car over, told Tang to watch the other gang members, and jumped out. Young then whipped his neck chain badge from the inside collar of his shirt and yelled, "Police! Police!"

Young's commanded Barrientos to stop. Barrientos kept running. Young knew it was up to him to take the suspect down physically. He rapidly closed the distance. 

Point Shooting

As both Young and Barrientos neared a street corner, Young mentally prepared himself to shove Barrientos onto his ass before the man could get around the corner. Young hoped this would keep him in eyeline of his partner and prevent Barrientos from carjacking someone or taking a hostage.

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

steve graham @ 6/14/2012 11:39 AM

Man don't beat youself up. All things considered you did an outstanding job. I'm retired military with time in combat and combat pistol and rifle instructor and I understand the stress of that situation, job well done and hang in there Partner. Great story, Thanks

Random @ 6/14/2012 3:02 PM

Sorry to hear you had some trouble. You are appreciated for your respectful attitude and professional behavior.

TripWire @ 6/14/2012 3:16 PM

Your story is as uplifting and encouraging as it is tragic. I was wounded in Afghanistan while on routine patrol and had to fight on for 30 mins. The docs said that the only reason that I survived was because I was so pissed off that I got shot. For me, the rehab was worse than getting hit, my therapist was worse than a drill sergeant. Stories like yours are what keeps us all going on man, keep up the fight.

Lt Dan @ 6/14/2012 5:52 PM

Its really tough getting a bead on a bobbing moving target, I've tried and it ain't like training or the movies! Its a natural process to second guess yourself, don't let it eat you up. If you run into another situation you'll have some additional knowledge you didn't have before.
Look at it as a learning experience. :-) Glad to hear you're recovered and back on the job.

As far as waiting for EMS, forget it. Pile into a squad car and GO!! You'll die waiting for EMS.

Sgtfriday @ 6/15/2012 5:58 AM

Sounds like they did what they had to. Glad he survived!

DEADMAN @ 6/17/2012 12:38 PM

We all second guess ourselves,especially when one of the bad guys get away,albeit only for a short time.There can also be things in the scenario that we didn't count on or figure into the equation but the important thing that matters the most was that with your survival mode working in high gear,you were able to survive and go home to your family and hold them against you,for all its worth.Glad you're on the road to a full recovery,the bad guy is in prison for life and that you still have a positive attitude.i hope you can be able to use this to help other officers in their futures,it's important that they get the information that you have to offer.
Good Luck & God Bless

Lefko @ 9/6/2012 9:54 PM

Nice work sheepdog. Way to stay with it and not give up. Thanks for your story and inspiring all of us out here. (from a northern calif copper).

eurik soto @ 9/21/2012 8:45 PM

wow amazing story, cant wait till i get through the academy and finally be an officer and get to do this.

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