Five days after Paso Robles police shot Steve Messina after he allegedly ran into an officer with his vehicle, a judge ordered the county to remove the bullet that was left in his hand. According to his case file at the courthouse, a judge ordered a doctor to evaluate Messina's injuries and retain the bullet.
It's unclear why staff left the bullet in Messina's hand when they originally treated him for the injuries he suffered during the arrest. It's also unclear why a court order was needed to remove the bullet. But Jim Mulhall, the SLO Sheriff's Department's commander in charge of Messina's investigation, said that the county cannot operate on an individual who is in custody to retrieve evidence without permission, and it's often easier to obtain evidence through a court order. It's not known who requested the court order.
Messina was detained at 10:30 p.m. on March 19 after his father called the Paso Police Department requesting assistance in helping bring his potentially suicidal son to safety. Messina, 29, had recently lost a friend in a drunken driving accident and been laid off.
Messina's father, also named Steven Messina, said that his son was drunk and suicidal but not a hazard to others when he called the Paso Robles police for help. A previous New Times article incorrectly stated that Messina had attempted to hit a police officer with his vehicle. According to a Paso Robles Police Department press release, the shooting occurred after the arresting officer was struck by the suspect's vehicle.
Messina has been charged with attempted murder, hit and run, driving under the influence, and assault with a deadly weapon