Investigator pleads guilty in off-duty incident

Hermosa Beach Fire Department arson investigator Darryl Powers has pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of vandalism after he stabbed a knife into a tabletop during an off-duty incident inside an Orange County bar, prosecutors said.

Powers, 50, was placed on three years probation and ordered to perform 30 days of community service and pay $50 restitution for the damage, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri said.

The negotiated plea did away with the original charge of brandishing a firearm capable of being concealed upon a person in a public place, which could have led to a jail sentence of 90 days to one year, prosecutors said.

Powers’ attorney was not immediately available for comment.

The Hermosa Beach Fire Department had begun an internal investigation into the incident prior to Powers entering his plea last week before Superior Court Judge Michael Cassidy.

Last August, Orange County prosecutors said Powers was accused of “brandishing a firearm at a woman sitting next to him” inside the bar.

“At approximately 9:15 p.m. on [Wednesday] July 7, 2010, Powers is accused of being at Turc’s Bar in Sunset Beach having drinks with his cousin. The defendant is accused of taking out a knife and stabbing it into the bar in front of him. Victim Kimberly D., who did not know the defendant, was sitting next to him at the bar,” said prosecutors in a prepared statement.

“A bartender took the knife and told the defendant that he could not have a knife at the bar. When the bartender walked away, Powers is accused of taking a firearm from his pocket and putting in on the bar with the barrel pointing at Kimberly D. The frightened victim asked Powers to put the firearm away, but he is accused of leaving it on the bar,” the statement read.

“The victim told the bartender, who contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department,” according to the statement.

At the time, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino confirmed that the firearm, a handgun, had been provided to Powers by the Hermosa Beach Fire Department.

The department’s four arson investigators, who are also sworn peace officers, are authorized to carry duty firearms, department officials said. ER

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