On an evening in late 2010 in the town of Cypress, one person was causing major trouble for law enforcement: the police chief’s wife.
Frank McCoy is actually chief of the Oceanside Police Department, far to the south, but he is also an active member of the Cypress community and a onetime council member there. And today his wife, Brinda Sue McCoy, is going on trial for allegedly shooting at officers with her husband’s gun, barricading herself in their Cypress home and generally acting crazy.
In their opening statement this morning, prosecutors told an Orange County jury that Ms. McCoy called 911 for help, then fired at officers when they arrived, told the dispatcher not to call her anymore, then squeezed off another round at the police outside, the Orange County Register reports.
The incident took hours to resolve before McCoy was taken into custody. She is charged with six felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon on a police officer and one count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and faces up to 61 years in prison if convicted, according to the Register.
McCoy, now 49, reportedly initiated the incident when she called 911 a little after 7 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2010 with the intention of having police come over and “take her out of her misery,” a prosecutor told jurors.
Other details relayed by prosecutors also indicate a suicidal episode, as when she told a neighbor, who had called to see if she was alright, that she wanted police to shoot her, adding: “I’m f------ tired of this.”
The Register states that McCoy barricaded herself in her house “and at one point opened a patio door, let her dogs in, drew the blinds, put the lights down in the living room and sat with the gun in her hand at the kitchen table.” She also pointed the gun at her own head, and told police that she was on medications.
Given her connections, McCoy personally knew a number of the officers outside her home involved in the standoff -- including her own son, who is an officer with the Cypress Police Department. But no one could get her to surrender.
McCoy even requested that police have her son leave the area, the Register reports.
She finally emerged from the home but did not show her hands, in an apparent last-ditch effort to get police to shoot her. She was knocked down with a beanbag gun and arrested.
She was charged six days later by the Orange County DA’s Office.
The defense was also scheduled to deliver an opening statement today in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana. McCoy’s attorney has said he means to show that she was not shooting at officers but at their vehicles.
Frank McCoy’s bio on the Oceanside Police Department website states that he has served eight years on the Cypress City Council. It also states that “Chief McCoy is married to his wife Brinda and has five children.”
The trial is sparking controversy over the way police handle dangerous or unstable people in standoff situations, with some seeing a double standard. “If I were to do the same thing with the police, would I be on trial, or dead?” one Register reader asked.