State Park Shooting Victim Pleads Not Guilty
A man who was shot last week by a park ranger at Torrey Pines State Beach and Reserve in Southern California pleaded not guilty Monday (Dec. 31) to assault on a police officer and assault with a knife.
The plea was entered by Charles Dustin Collins, 29, from his hospital bed at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
A state park ranger shot Collins once in the torso during the Dec. 27 incident at the popular beach park.
He was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail by San Diego Superior Court Peter Gallagher.
That is largely a moot point because Collins told Gallagher he doesn’t have any money for bail.
The incident occurred just after 2 p.m. Thursday when a California State Parks ranger came across a small homeless encampment off the Broken Hill Trail.
The ranger, who has not been identified, checked a tent and found a man inside.
The two spoke for about 10 minutes outside the tent. Earlier in the day, there had been reports of a naked man in the reserve.
The ranger detained Collins, thinking he might be that man, according to accounts of the incident that San Diego police gave last week.
Instead, Collins went back inside the tent and emerged with a machete, police said. By this time, a second ranger had arrived.
Police said Collins moved toward the rangers in a threatening manner and one of them fired a single round at him.
Prosecutors provided no further details on the shooting after the arraignment. Collins is next due in court in January.
The ranger who shot Collins is an eight-year veteran of the state parks force.