Man convicted of attempted murder in shootout with CHP officer

Clifford Scott takes notes in court Thursday, Jan. 9, during his trial on attempted murder charges.
Clifford Scott takes notes in court Thursday, Jan. 9, during his trial on attempted murder charges.

A San Diego man who was shot seven times during an intense gun battle with a CHP officer was convicted Thursday of attempted murder.

Clifford Scott, 23, did not react as the jury’s verdict was read. He was also convicted of several other charges, including evading a police officer, transporting cocaine and firing on a police officer.

Scott was traveling with two women from San Diego to Las Vegas on Oct. 27, 2012, when the Camaro in which he was riding was pulled over by a CHP officer in Paso Robles. At some point, Scott jumped from the front passenger seat to the driver’s seat and sped off, eventually crashing into a tree. After the accident, Scott fled on foot and hid in a recycling dumpster.

Adrian Ayala, a six-year CHP veteran who responded to a call for backup, eventually tracked down Scott and ordered him to come out of the dumpster.

“What happens at that point?” Deputy District Attorney Eric Dobroth told jurors during his closing argument earlier this week. “All hell breaks loose.”

Ayala said Scott came up shooting. He hit Scott with a Taser, but that didn’t stop the gunfire, so Ayala grabbed his own pistol and began firing back, knowing he’d been hit. Ayala was hit three times while Scott was hit up to seven times, witnesses testified.

Eventually, Ayala shot Scott in the abdomen as he attempted to flee the alley. After that, Scott threw down his gun and surrendered. His most severe injury was a bullet to the liver.

“At this point, there’s no way he can kill anybody,” Dobroth told jurors.

Scott’s attorney, Linden Mackaoui, told jurors his client was confused after getting hit by a Taser in a dark alley and acted in self-defense.

Jurors deliberated for two days. While they could not reach a decision on whether Ayala suffered great bodily injury — one of the enhancements filed in the case — their verdict could result in a life sentence for Scott, who had prior convictions for robbery and carrying a loaded firearm.

Ayala, who sat in the audience, was quiet as the verdict was read. After the jury left, Ayala — who is now performing public information functions for the CHP — declined to comment.

He does not know yet whether he will offer a statement during Scott’s sentencing.

A date for sentencing is expected to be set Tuesday.

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