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Man Who Shot Officer Gets 51 Years in Prison

March 23, 2000

LONG BEACH — The man convicted of shooting Police Officer Brian Watt in the head was sentenced to 51 years plus life in prison Wednesday, authorities said.

Aaron Hefflin, 32, a five-time felon, was given the maximum penalty by Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani. He will not be eligible for parole until about age 89, prosecutors said.

Hefflin had been out of prison 27 days when he was pulled over for speeding on Long Beach Boulevard on July 9, 1997.

Hefflin, who had carjacked the vehicle 10 minutes earlier, jumped out and fired at least five bullets from a .38-caliber revolver. One hit Watt in the leg, and another was partially deflected by his helmet but struck his head.

The shooting prompted then-Gov. Pete Wilson to announce a $60,000 reward for Hefflin's capture.

Hefflin was found guilty by a Superior Court jury last month of attempted murder and carjacking.

"It was certainly a just sentence," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Barbara Turner. "Not only the physical injury, but the emotional injury suffered by [Watt] and his family are things that they will live with for the rest of their lives. Somebody who would shoot a uniformed police officer would shoot absolutely anybody."

Watt has since returned to the Long Beach police force, though not as a patrol officer, Turner said.

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