Oceanside CA— On December 20, 2016, members of the Oceanside Police Department, Oceanside Fire Department along with Carlsbad Police and Fire, San Diego County Sheriffs Deputies and people from the community gathered at the intersection of Gold Drive and Arthur Avenue for the start of the 10th annual Daniel Bessant Memorial Run. The intersection is the site where Officer Dan Bessant, 25, was shot after he responded to assist another officer on a traffic stop.
The participants left the intersection shortly after 5:00pm and ran the 3.4 miles to the west side of Oceanside Police Headquarters where a memorial to Officer Bessant stands. The run was followed by a brief ceremony and a moment of silence at 6:33pm.
“I can’t believe it’s been ten years, ten years ago tonight. It was a Wednesday night. We were home, turned on a travel show and just opened a bottle of wine when my daughter-in-law, Katelyn, called and said Dan has been shot in the leg at work and asked if we could pick her and Wyatt(their son) up to go to the hospital .” said Dan’s father, Steve Bessant as he spoke about what unfolded that night. He told how, on the way to pick her up, they were thinking they would have some fun stories to tell. “He had a small hole in his pant leg so that’s why they thought he was shot there,” said Steve.
He explained how he tried to call some of his buddies but no one would take his calls and when someone did answer, they told him he needed to call dispatch. “They said to go to Katelyn’s house and wait for the Chief. I knew something was up. ” he continued, “Things got kind of crazy and weird after that. Chief McCoy and Captain Grigsby came to the house and they stood by us on the worst day of our lives and they continue to do so.”
Mr. Bessant explained how the Oceanside Police Department, the District Attorney’s prosecuting the cases against the three charged in the murder and the community supported the family. “The hole that Danny’s death caused can never be filled. The continued outpouring of love and support from the community has helped us respond to the theft of Danny from our lives.”
Two teens were charged and convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. A third was re-arrested on October 27, 2016. Jose Compre was originally arrested in the case, however, at the preliminary hearing in 2008, the charges were dismissed against him. Compre is a current resident of the City of Oceanside.
Officer Bessant, a graduate of Oceanside High School, had been an officer with the Oceanside Police Department for three years and had worked in an unsworn position for three years prior to that. In 2013, the bridge on Pacific Street that connects to Oceanside Harbor was named in his honor. A stretch of Interstate 5 is also named in his honor.