70 cops attend suspect's court appearance

September 7, 2010 5:43:54 PM PDT
There was a powerful show of solidarity in an Oakland courtroom Tuesday to support an officer that was shot and badly hurt.

70 uniformed members of the Fremont Police Department turned out for the first court appearance of a suspected gang member. Andrew Barrientos is suspected of shooting Officer Todd Young last month. Young remained in intensive care Tuesday at Oakland's Highland Hospital.

In court Tuesday, Barrientos postponed entering a plea. He is slated to be back in court at the end of the month. The officers that showed up Tuesday to see Barrientos in court could not see him because he was kept behind glass. The media, however, could and it was clear that he noticed the sea of blue sitting in the courtroom.

Nearly half of the department showed up, almost all of them on their own time. One by one, the officers filed into the courtroom, their chief in the front row.

"I don't consider it a show of force. I consider it solidarity. The officers are here to support Todd," Oakland Police Chief Craig Steckler.

As Officer Todd Young remained in an induced coma at Highland Hospital with his wife by his side, Barrientos wore a red jumpsuit and his hands were shackled at his waist for his first appearance before a judge.

The suspected gang member was arrested just feet from the Mexican border. Investigators say he admitted shooting Young last month in Oakland as police attempted to serve a warrant on him. But, Barrientos said he did not know the veteran officer was a cop.

"That's not true," Steckler said. "We'll prove in court that's not true."

"Whether this turns out to be an intentional shooting of a police officer or a tragic misunderstanding on the streets of Oakland remains to be seen," Barrientos' attorney Anne Beles said.

Barrientos' family left court without comment. He faces 10 felonies, including attempted murder, and life in prison.

"I don't want this to be misconstrued as though we don't have faith in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. It's absolutely not true. We're just here to show our support for Todd," said Fremont Detective Bill Veteran.

As Officer Young faces more surgery, the outpouring of support has also overwhelmed local blood banks. The Red Cross had to extend hours to meet the demand.

"They have a face now to connect with the need for blood and they want to help," said Sara O'Brien with the Red Cross.

And, they are helping, through blood donations and warm wishes in the form of hundreds of get-well cards from people who never met Young. One person simply wrote, "It is distressing that you were imperiled in the line of duty in my hometown of Oakland."

Young is expected to remain in the hospital for at least another two weeks and possibly faces an additional two to three surgeries. On Wednesday in Oakland, the Red Cross is holding a blood drive in Young's honor.

Appointments can be scheduled at any of the below American Red Cross locations by calling 1-800-448-3543 or 1-800-733-2767, or by going to www.redcrossbayarea.org. Some locations are open until 7:30 p.m.

There are five American Red Cross Agencies in the Bay Area that are accepting donations:

Pleasant Hill
140 Gregory Lane Ste 120
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Oakland
6230 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618

Pleasanton
5556 N Springdale Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94588

San Jose
2731 North 1st Street
San Jose, CA

Newark
39227 Cedar Blvd
Newark, CA 94560


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