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Acquitted San Diego Police Officer to Return to Duty

— A San Diego policeman acquitted of weapons charges stemming from the off-duty shooting of a woman and her 8-year-old son during a North County traffic dispute 15 months ago will return to duty next week, Chief William Lansdowne confirmed today.

On Tuesday, Frank White will begin an administrative post with the department's Operational Support Division, which works out of downtown SDPD headquarters, Lansdowne said.

White, who was a patrol officer at the time of the non-fatal shooting, will remain in his new position pending the completion of an internal probe into what disciplinary actions, if any, should result from his use of a gun during the encounter. That review should be done in about three weeks, the chief said.

On Monday, a jury found White not guilty of felony gross negligent discharge of a firearm and a misdemeanor count of displaying a gun in an angry of threatening manner in connection with the March 15, 2008, wounding of Oceanside resident Rachel Silva and her son, Johnny, at a strip mall near their home.

If convicted of all charges, White would have faced up to nine years in prison.

White, 29, testified that he opened fire on Silva's car after she cut him off in traffic, swerved recklessly around his vehicle, then backed into it in a parking lot outside a home-improvement store on Old Grove Road.

White, whose wife was in the passenger seat next to him, said he fired in self- defense and that he had no idea a child was in the car.

Silva, then 27, was shot twice in the arm, and her son was hit once in the left knee. Her blood-alcohol level was measured at .15 percent -- nearly double the legal limit -- two hours later. She also allegedly had marijuana and methamphetamine in her system at the time.

She pleaded guilty last year to felony child endangerment and misdemeanor DUI and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

White has been on voluntary unpaid leave since the shooting.

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