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'Good Samaritan' admits assault with gun
October 16, 2012, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Ashley Viola

The 25-year-old "Good Samaritan” who pulled a loaded .45-caliber gun on a man involved in a confrontation with a woman in downtown San Mateo was sentenced to time served and probation after pleading no contest yesterday to misdemeanor assault.

Ashley Andaluz Viola, of San Pablo, was sentenced to six days in jail but has credit of the same amount earned before posting $50,000 bail. He must also pay standard fees and fines but his conviction does not prohibit him from possessing a gun in the future.

Viola was initially hailed as a Good Samaritan after he pulled the weapon apparently in defense of a 57-year-old woman who he said had been assaulted shortly after 3 p.m. June 22, 2011 near Third Avenue and San Mateo Drive. Viola told police he saw the altercation and followed her alleged attacker, pulling his firearm as the man hid behind a newspaper rack. He pulled the trigger multiple times but the gun did not fire.

Days later, though, prosecutors charged Viola, alleging he violated the law himself by having no legal basis to carry the gun and actually firing the weapon at the man. At the time, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the couple had an angry interaction and the man either shoved or bumped the woman but did not knock her down as Viola had claimed.

When two police officers responded to multiple calls about a man with a gun, Viola turned toward them and did not immediately respond to demands to drop the weapon.

The gun was later found to have numerous rounds in the magazine but not the chamber.

In April, a judge dismissed some of the original charges and reduced the remaining to misdemeanors. He was scheduled to begin jury trial yesterday before taking the negotiated settlement.


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