Trial begins for man who stabbed 2 firefighters

The firefighters were responding to a medical call when the man attacked them; the man's attorney said he was acting in self-defense

SAN DIEGO — The trial has started for a man who stabbed two San Diego firefighters last year while firefighters were responding to a medical call. reported the firefighters were responding to a call for an intoxicated man when Ryan Allen Jones, 35, stabbed them.

Jones' attorney, Thomas Barr, said his client was attempting to help the intoxicated man and only stabbed the firefighters in self-defense after being pushed over by a fire captain.

Jones faces 25 years to life if he is convicted on the charges of attempted murder of a firefighter, assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott said the firefighters, Benjamin Vernon and Alex Walbrett, were responding to a call when Jones stabbed them in an attack that was "nothing short of pure violence," according to the report.

Schott said Jones' attack on the firefighters was calculated and not made in self-defense.

The attack, most of which was caught on video, started when Jones tried to get past a security guard in an attempt to help the intoxicated man. The security guard told Jones to step back and let the firefighters do their jobs.

After Jones failed to listen to the security guard's warnings, Capt. Steven Michaels stepped in to try to stop Jones. Jones then attacked the security guard and was pepper sprayed by security personnel.

Jones' attorney said Capt. Michaels was to blame for starting the violence.

"The fire captain had a short fuse," said Barr. "He was already agitated they had to respond to a drunken individual."

Barr said Jones, who had an incident in 2008 with an Oakland police officer, had a flashback to that incident and feared for his safety.

"He thought he was going to get injured, he was in fear for his safety for his well-being for his life," said Barr. "He went there to help, Mr. Jones acted in self-defense."

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