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Philly officer's shooting of husband is ruled self-defense

Officials say she had been the subject of repeated abuse.

A Philadelphia police officer was acting in self-defense when she shot and wounded her husband two weeks ago in the driveway of their Bucks County home, officials said Wednesday.

David Perez, 27, who is recovering from the wound to the abdomen, has been charged with stalking and simple assault on his wife, Officer Caren Perez.

Caren Perez, 30, was off-duty when she shot her husband in the driveway of their Northampton Township home, in the unit block of North Marmic Drive, about 5:30 a.m. April 18.

"Ms. Perez repeatedly had been threatened and physically assaulted by her husband in the past," the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Wednesday. An investigation concluded "that Ms. Perez fired her weapon only after being assaulted yet again, and only after she reasonably concluded that her life was in immediate danger," the office said.

Robert Gamburg, David Perez's attorney, said his client "categorically denies any prior abuse, either physical or mental." He said the husband had spent about a week at St. Mary Medical Center.

A Philadelphia police spokesman said the department would have no comment because an internal-affairs investigation continues. Caren Perez is a 10-year veteran assigned to the 17th District in Point Breeze, police said.

The affidavit of probable cause gives the following account:

When police were called to the couple's home on the morning of April 18, they found the husband in the living room, shot, and his wife in a neighbor's home.

The wife later told investigators that her husband had assaulted her several times since 2014, including when they lived on Glenview Street in Mayfair, and described his behavior as controlling.

In one instance, she told investigators, early on Sept. 5, 2014, after David Perez returned home, he woke her, accused her of lying, grabbed her hair, and punched her in the face numerous times.

The most recent assault before the shooting occurred April 2, when the husband confronted his wife outside of a relative's Camden home, accused her of cheating, grabbed her arm, then pushed her into a fence and trash cans, the affidavit continues.

On the morning of April 18, Caren Perez later told investigators, her husband demanded to see the contents of her phone, and after she refused, he blocked her from leaving their bedroom. After she made her way out of the bedroom, her husband yelled and cursed, demanding her phone, she told investigators. 

Fearing for her life, she said, she grabbed her handgun, and during a struggle, it fell to the floor.

David Perez then took his gun, and while the two struggled over it, he pointed it at himself and tried to put his wife's finger on the trigger. "Go ahead, shoot me, take me out of my misery, pull the trigger," he is quoted as saying in the affidavit.

When the struggle ended, her husband again asked to see her phone, and this time, she gave it to him. 

Caren Perez then attempted to leave in her car, but her husband grabbed the keys, and told her, "You're not ... going anywhere," according to the affidavit.

David Perez then "drop kicked" his wife, charged at her, and made her fear he was going to kill her, she told investigators. That's when she pulled out her gun and fired once at him, the affidavit says.

Perez was arraigned Wednesday at the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown and released. He was ordered not to have any handguns and not to have any contact with his wife. He faces a preliminary hearing next Thursday in Richboro.