Officer who shot Foley felt 'trapped' in cul-de-sac

Updated: September 7, 2006, 8:17 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- An off-duty police officer was inadvertently "trapped" in a suburban cul-de-sac without backup before he shot San Diego Chargers linebacker Steve Foley, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Steve Foley

Aaron Mansker, an officer with the Coronado Police Department, had decided to drop his pursuit because no other officers responded to his calls for help but found himself blocked in the dead-end street where Foley lives, said San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber.

Sheriff's deputies arrived about one minute after the shooting early Sunday, Koerber said.

The account came during an arraignment hearing for Lisa Maree Gaut, 25, who was a passenger in Foley's restored 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

Gaut pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and assaulting a police officer. She faces up to five years in prison if she is convicted of all charges. Superior Court Judge David Szumowski ordered her held in custody in lieu of $35,000 bail.

The shooting occurred after Foley got out of the car outside his home in Poway and began walking toward Mansker, who said he was armed and fired a warning shot, according to a sheriff's department report.

"At this time, the officer was trapped," Koerber told the judge.

Gaut got behind the wheel of Foley's Oldsmobile, revved the engine and drove toward Mansker, Koerber said. Mansker fired two shots at the car and fired at Foley when the football player reached into his pants with his right hand.

Gaut's attorney, Raymond Vecchio, said that the pair hadn't stopped their car earlier when Mansker ordered them to pull over at a stoplight because they were concerned that the off-duty officer was a carjacker or an "overeager fan."

Vecchio called the assault charges against Gaut "bogus."

There was no update Thursday on Foley's condition. Earlier in the week, his agent, David Levine, said Foley was hospitalized in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Levine has not returned phone messages left seeking comment since Monday. The team has deferred all comment to Levine.

The Chargers put Foley on the non-football injured reserve list just a day after the shooting, meaning he will miss the season and forfeit his pay, estimated at $1.65 million. Foley -- an eight-season NFL veteran -- turns 31 on Monday, and no one has said whether he will be able to play again.

San Diego County sheriff's Capt. Glenn Revell said Thursday that Foley was shot in the hand, upper thigh, and lower inner thigh.

Mansker, 23, joined the Coronado police in August 2005. He was on his way home from a shift when he spotted a suspected drunken driver on the freeway weaving through traffic at speeds up to 90 mph.

He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Foley was apparently unarmed when the incident took place, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. He has not been charged with any crime in connection with the incident, and so far has declined to speak with authorities, Revell said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press