Grover Beach man's assault trial is a case of who acted first

A Grover Beach man charged at a police officer in an attempt to attack him while in a methamphetamine rage, during which he believed the world was coming to an end, according to a prosecutor.

But Randal Corvey’s lawyer, Thomas McCormick, said Grover Beach police Officer Mike Hollis charged at his client after Corvey ignored his orders to drop a bottle he was holding.

Corvey, 50, has pleaded not guilty to charges of two counts of assault, attempting to take a firearm from an officer, illegal possession of fighting stars, and being under the influence of controlled substances.

Opening statements began Thursday in the trial involving an alleged incident that took place Oct. 18 at Corvey’s home in the 100 block of 10th Street near Grand Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney Matt Kraut said that Corvey was high on meth and began to behave erratically in his backyard — including yelling and cursing.

“He thought the end of the world was happening,” Kraut said.

A neighbor called police to report Corvey’s behavior, and Kraut said when Officers Hollis and Stephen Ball arrived, they noticed Corvey had a gun strapped to his waist. It turned out to be a BB gun, though they didn’t know it at the time, Kraut said.

Hollis saw Corvey reach toward a bottle that he thought was a Molotov cocktail and ordered him to put the bottle down, Kraut said.

Hollis testified that Corvey sprinted at him with the bottle in his hand and tried to strike him. Hollis said he blocked Corvey with his body and punched him with his gun in hand.

“(Corvey) then pulled me down with him, and we ended up on the ground,” Hollis said.

While they were on the ground, Corvey grabbed at the barrel of Hollis’ gun, and Hollis fired a shot at Corvey, grazing him in the head, the officer testified.

McCormick said in his opening statements that Corvey was suffering from several physical ailments and previously had back, knee and ankle problems — which led him to “self-medicate.”

McCormick acknowledged his client was under the influence of meth when the officers showed up.McCormick said that evidence will show that Corvey never got to his feet as the police were making demands of him while he was in his yard.

Before the officers arrived, Corvey thought a skunk was in his shed and tried to use a hose to spray the shed and scare the animal, McCormick said.

“That’s why he had the BB gun,” McCormick said.

Corvey also had a glass bottle containing gas to fuel his lawnmower and was trying to contain it when officers told him to put down the bottle, McCormick said.

McCormick said Corvey ignored the officers but didn’t charge at them; rather, Hollis attacked Corvey, McCormick said in his opening statement.

The trial resumes today at 9 a.m. in San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera’s courtroom.