Armored Gunman's Assault Rifle Jams, Saving Police

| by Sam Gravity
Starbucks in Vallejo, CaliforniaStarbucks in Vallejo, California

A man in "police-style" body armor pointed an assault rifle at two police officers in a Starbucks in Vallejo, California, on Oct. 17, but was shot and detained after his weapon malfunctioned.

Vallejo Police say Adam Powell, 41, tried to shoot two officers with an assault rifle loaded with 70 rounds of ammunition while the officers were on a coffee break at Starbucks, KXTV reports. Powell reportedly fled the scene after his weapon jammed, and officers shot him three times approximately 100 feet from the coffee shop.

A police investigation revealed Powell had driven by the Starbucks six minutes earlier, supposedly planning the attack, and carried a loaded handgun in addition to the assault rifle. Police began first aid on Powell immediately following the shooting, and he was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou called the attack an "attempted assassination" of the two officers, who were "ambushed by somebody who has superior firepower" while taking their break.

Just five hours before the encounter, Powell’s 2-year-old son Adonis was shot at a home in nearby Suisun City, according to SFGate. The boy was sent to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, after what police described as an "accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound" to the neck.

Adonis' 19-year-old half sister, Breauna Bower, said the toddler's shooting may have motivated Powell’s attack on the police.

"He's a really good man. I don't know what would've went through this mind, but he's really good man," Bower said of the man she considers her step-father. "I assume he possibly thought his son was dead and was just distracted. And just wanted to commit suicide in a certain way. Who knows."

"Anybody out there, do not look at him as a suspect. He probably was really distraught," she added.

Police reported it was unclear if Powell, who has a felony record for robbery and drug offenses, had expressed any anger toward police. Officers are still investigating Adonis’ shooting, but initial reports indicate it was an accident.

Both Powell and Adonis are still in hospital in critical condition.

The Vallejo shooting marks the latest attempt on California officers’ lives, following a fatal ambush on two Palm Springs police officers answering a domestic disturbance call on Oct. 8, The Sacramento Bee Reports. The Palm Spring shooting occurred three days after a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s sergeant was shot and killed while answering a burglary call in Lancaster.

"Officers I think around the country are at a heightened state of alert now," the Vallejo chief said. "We’re relieved this wasn’t a tragedy and our officers weren’t assassinated."

Sources: KXTV, SFGate, The Sacramento Bee / Photo credit: Chris Preovolos/SFGate

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