Officer accused of shooting gun in San Francisco hotel enters not guilty plea

- A Richmond Police officer accused of shooting off a gun, which led to a police standoff at a San Francisco hotel last weekend, entered a "not guilty" plea in court today.

Sergeant Philip Sanchez, 45, appeared somber at the Hall of Justice building after entering a not guilty plea and did not respond to questions by KTVU reporter Tara Moriarty.

"We're aware that there are rumors out there that he was saying things and doing things that would be consistent with some sort of mental health crisis but we have yet to have seen or to have read anything that would confirm that," said Sanchez's defense attorney Nicole Pifari, with the Rains, Lucia &Stern Lawgroup.

Pifari seemed to squashing talk that her client was having a mental breakdown around five o'clock Sunday Morning.

Witnesses had said Sanchez was acting strangely, speaking of "spirits" while wandering throughout the Four Seasons hotel before firing more than 10 gunshots.

"Tthe court today ordered that Mr. Sanchez stay away from the Four Seasons Hotel at least 150 yards. He also ordered that Mr. Sanchez turn over any firearms that he had as well to ensure that any behavior like this couldn't happen again," said Max Szabo, a spokesperson for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Police sources tell KTVU that Sanchez had attended a holiday party earlier that evening with his wife. While she retired to the room, Sanchez wandered around the hotel, eventually firing off his gun in a stairwell and on the 12th floor. The gunfire led to a standoff with SFPD.

About an hour and a half later he surrendered peacefully. 

While no hotel guests were harmed, Pifari says her client mysteriously suffered injuries to his head, arm and face.

"It's a possibility that in some point in the night, he was assaulted," said Pifari.

Pifari says Sanchez was rushed to the hospital Sunday with symptoms consistent with those of a heart attack.

"He's someone who loves his job um he loves his community, he's a dedicated family man and that the things that have been described are completely out of character," said Pifari. 

Sanchez is being charged with three felonies: discharging a firearm in an inhabited dwelling, negligent discharge of a firearm, and vandalism causing damage worth more than $400.

His next court appearance is set for January 23rd.
 

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