RICHMOND — An 18-year-old was charged Wednesday with attempting to murder a Richmond police officer during a sideshow Sunday morning.
Court records identified the officer as Onome Ojo, a former UC Davis football star who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2001 and had a brief NFL career in the early 2000s.
Ojo is expected to recover after being struck by a car participating in the sideshow at Marina Bay Parkway and Regatta Boulevard. Two 18-year-olds were arrested and charged in connection with the crash, and are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning.
The alleged driver of the car that struck Ojo, Juan Vargas, 18, of Patterson, was charged with attempted murder and assault on a peace officer Wednesday. Genesis Diaz-Castaneda, 18, of Santa Nella, was charged with accessory after the fact.
Vargas and Diaz-Castaneda also face charges of conspiracy to file a false report. The charging documents allege that after the crash, they abandoned the car in Richmond, called South San Francisco police to report the car as being stolen, then travelled to the South San Francisco police department and “provided a fictitious account of events.”
Ojo is a former fifth round pick of the New Orleans Saints, and took an odd path to the NFL: He never played in high school, choosing to study dance instead, but decided to try out for UC Davis’ football team his junior year there. As a senior, he finished third on the team with 33 catches and second among Aggies receivers with 865 yards and 11 touchdowns, according to a 2008 Vallejo Times-Herald article.
Media reports say Ojo moved to Vallejo after a brief NFL career cut short by recurring knee injuries. He was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the team beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in 2003, but he was injured and did not play. It is unknown when he decided to become an officer, but public records list him on the payroll at least as early as 2014.
A news release from the DA’s office said that participants in the Sunday sideshow began to disperse when police arrived, and that a patrol officer — who isn’t identified in the news release — exited his car. It says Vargas “rapidly accelerated, (and) the officer was hit,” throwing him into the air and against the windshield of the car. Police later identified the car by the damage on it.
Both defendants remain in custody.