West Palm Beach, FL – A six-time convicted felon grabbed a West Palm Beach police officer’s duty weapon during a fight and managed to fire the gun while it was holstered, according to police.
The incident began at approximately 4 p.m. on Nov. 22, when a woman called 911 to report that her boyfriend had pointed a gun at her, WPEC reported.
Two West Palm Beach Police Department (WPBPD) officers who were patrolling in the area immediately responded to the scene and spotted the suspect near Division Avenue an 21st Street, according to police.
He was later identified as 33-year-old Eugene Upperman.
The agitated suspect allegedly refused to comply with officers’ commands and was acting erratically, according to WPEC.
The officers were also concerned that he might still be armed due to the nature of the call.
Police ultimately grabbed ahold of Upperman and attempted to take him to the ground, WPEC reported.
But during the ensuing brawl, the convicted felon managed to get a grip on one of the officers’ holstered duty weapons, police said.
“You are going to have to shoot me!” he allegedly yelled at the officers, according to WPEC. “You’re going to have to kill me!”
They ordered him to release his hold on the gun, but Upperman refused, police said.
“[I’m] going to pull the trigger,” he allegedly told the officers during the fight.
Upperman then managed to reach his finger into the trigger guard of the holstered weapon and fired off a single round, according to police.
The officers repeatedly punched the suspect as they fought for their lives, WPEC reported.
Additional officers arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and assisted in taking Upperman into custody.
They allegedly located 1.3 grams of crack cocaine tucked into an Advil bottle inside the suspect’s right front pocket after he was subdued, WPEC reported.
He has since been charged with attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest with violence, and discharging a firearm in public.
The most recent of Upperman’s six felony convictions occurred on June 19, 2015, when he was found guilty of resisting arrest with violence, possession of cocaine, and possession of methaqualone, WPEC reported.
The officers involved in the brawl with Upperman suffered scrapes to their knees, arms, elbow, and legs, but are expected to make full recoveries, according to police.