She brought the fight back to the enemy E-mail
Written by Matt Lyons   

Six years ago, on December 20 at 6:18 in the evening Oceanside PD Officer Karina Pina made a traffic stop at an intersection in an area well known for its history of gang violence and hostility toward police. At the time of Karina made the stop, it was getting dar.

Any cop worth their salt would know that a traffic stop in this neighborhood would require some form of cover. Neighborhood Policing Officer Danny Bessant, heard the stop go out and immediately rolled to provide Officer Pina cover. He arrived approximately four minutes later, got out of his car and stood on the “Thin Blue Line” with Karina as she approached the car and made contact with the driver. There were a total of six people in the car.

This was Danny’s home turf and he had been working intensively to improve the quality life for the people who lived in the neighborhood. Officer Bessant had experienced some success, but he knew knew that danger and hazardsstill  lurked around every corner for the cops who worked this tough area of the city.

Unfortunately Officer Pina and Bessant would not be alone for long. A gang member holding a rifle had already placed them both in his sights. He, along with two other gang members armed with handguns, were watching the officers from a distance.

They had murder on their minds.

Fifteen minutes after stopping the car, Officers Bessant and Pina were ambushed when the gang members started firing bullets at them. Within seconds the sounds of multiple bullet impacts struck against the cinder block wall that acted as a backdrop for the suspects as they watched the officers standing out in the open, silhouetted by the flashing emergency lights.

Muzzle flashes coming from a position behind the officers alerted Karina and Danny that they were under attack.

As Karina requested additional units, Danny Bessant was shot. Mortally wounded he crawled to a position of cover near the right front wheel of one of the police cars. Officer Pina told dispatch an officer had been shot. Returning fire, she risked her life to run to the aid of her partner all the while being shot at.

While she waited for cover to arrive, Karina Pina continued to provide protection for Danny, the six people in the car, and the man who was with her on a citizen ride-along.

When other officers arrived, Karina gave them a description of the suspects and pointed out the direction where they had fled. A perimeter was quickly established.

A massive door-to-door manhunt and extensive investigation followed. The suspects were later captured, tried, and convicted.

Sadly, Danny succumbed to his injuries. He died just hours after being shot.

More lives would have been lost were it not for Karina placing herself in harm’s way and bravely returning fire.

She brought the fight back to the enemy and forced them to retreat. She addressed the threat of multiple gunmen while being fired upon, assisted a mortally wounded partner, and protected innocent civilians who were also in the line of fire.
 
Matt Lyons is an officer with the Oceanside Police Department in California.

Message from Matt: This December 20th, 2012 marks the 6th year since we lost Danny. "Lest we  forget!" He is our 4th fallen officer. What a great solid guy! The city recently voted to name a bridge located in our downtown harbor area after Danny. He grew up in Oceanside and was an avid fisherman, recreationally using the harbor all the time. Both Karina and Danny are the very best that society has to offer as people as well as top notch cops, each in their own right.


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