FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward Sheriff's Office deputy took the stand Monday and described the day he was shot in the head during a traffic stop last year.
David Maldonado, 25, is accused of shooting Deputy Maury Hernandez when Hernandez pulled him over in Pembroke Park in August 2007.
Maldonado is charged with first-degree attempted murder and could face life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.
Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz is handling the prosecution's case. He told jurors that Hernandez was driving an unmarked car and wearing plain clothes with his police badge around his neck when he confronted Maldonado in a parking lot for allegedly speeding.
Satz said Maldonado identified himself as an Opa-Locka police officer, but when Hernandez asked him for identification, Maldonado pushed him and ran away.
When Hernandez chased him, Satz said, Maldonado turned and fired two shots at Hernandez from a .45-caliber handgun. One bullet struck Hernandez in the side of the head.
"Devastating injuries. As a matter of fact, there are two fragments still in Deputy Hernandez's head," Satz said.
Hernandez made what doctors called a miraculous recovery from his injuries and said he hopes to return to the force one day.
Hernandez, who suffered permanent brain damage, was among the first witnesses on Monday. He said he remembered that Maldonado pushed him before running away, and then he recounted the final seconds before he was shot.
"That individual sitting right over there turned around, pointed a gun at me, and I remember my reflexes when I saw the gun, and I saw the muzzle flashing of the gun. I remember I went like this, and that's the last I remember," said Hernandez, demonstrating how he moved.
Defense attorneys also gave their opening statements Monday morning. They said they would try to show that Hernandez did not properly identify himself as a BSO deputy. They also said that the bullet fragments in Hernandez's head were not necessarily from the bullets that came from Maldonado's gun. The defense attorneys did not say who might have shot Hernandez if Maldonado did not, but they are trying to cast doubt in the minds of the jury members.
Copyright 2011 by Post-Newsweek Stations. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.