Man pleads not guilty to ramming police vehicle

A San Francisco man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to intentionally ramming a police vehicle with a stolen car in the city's Bayview District last Friday, an action that prompted an officer to fire his gun at him in response, prosecutors and police said.

Larry Simonton, 44, was arrested after an incident that began shortly after 9 p.m. Friday in the 1200 block of Revere Avenue, police said.

A resident reported that he had just parked his car and was walking to the front door of his home when a man, later identified as Simonton, approached and demanded his belongings, according to police.

The victim ran into his home and locked the door, then watched as Simonton allegedly broke into his car and drove away with a key that was in the glove box, police said.

Plainclothes officers in an unmarked police vehicle spotted the stolen car in the 100 block of Jerrold Avenue, where Simonton allegedly accelerated and struck the officers' vehicle head-on, according to police.

He then backed up and as he was about to ram the police car again, one of the officers fired his service weapon at him.

Simonton was not struck by the gunfire and tried to flee in the stolen car, but struck several parked cars before being taken into custody by other officers responding to the scene, police said.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the collisions, but was later released and appeared in court Wednesday to face several felony charges in the case.

Simonton pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery, unlawful taking of a vehicle, and driving on a suspended license, district attorney's office spokesman Omid Talai said Thursday.

Simonton also faces enhancements because he was on active probation for a prior conviction for unlawful taking of a vehicle, Talai said.

He has four prior convictions, all for offenses committed in San Francisco, according to Talai.

In 1995, Simonton was convicted of second-degree burglary; in 1996, he was convicted of unlawful taking of a vehicle; in 2001, he was convicted of grand theft; and was convicted in July 2010 for unlawful taking of a vehicle, Talai said.

He is being held with no option for bail because of the probation violation and will return to court on Jan. 5 for a pre-hearing conference, Talai said.

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