Former officer set for plea Nov. 9

Browning accused of driving stolen car toward Gilroy police on high school campus

Chad Browning, the former Hollister Police officer who allegedly drove a stolen vehicle onto a crowded athletic field at Gilroy High School last month, will next appear in court Nov. 9.

Browning, 42, of Fresno, is scheduled to appear for a plea hearing at 1:30pm Nov. 9 at the Morgan Hill Courthouse, according to Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vishal Bathija.

Chad Browning

He is charged with four crimes in relation to a suspected Sept. 9 crime spree that ended with Gilroy police shooting at him before he could drive onto a local football field full of children. Specifically, Browning is charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, vehicle theft, petty theft and possession of methamphetamine.

If convicted, Browning faces a maximum of five years, eight months in state prison.

Browning is accused of stealing a vehicle in Fresno the morning of Sept. 9 and driving to Gilroy, where he stole a cell phone from a developmentally disabled resident before making his way to the athletic fields at Gilroy High School on West 10th Street. Browning had used the stolen cell phone to call Gilroy police, and told dispatchers he wanted to fight with officers, according to police.

Gilroy police were aware that Browning was a former police officer, and that he had attempted to acquire a firearm from a family member earlier that day, according to authorities. Browning has no direct ties to the Gilroy area.

When officers learned Browning might be on his way to Gilroy High, police rushed to the campus where up to 600 children, parents and spectators were gathered at the football stadium for the youth games, according to police. The officers located Browning, driving a Kia stolen out of Fresno, in a nearby fenced-in service area and attempting to travel onto the football field.

After a number of parents and other adults at the scene tried to stop Browning, he drove the directly toward a Gilroy officer, according to police. The officer, with nowhere to retreat to safety within the enclosed service road, fired a single round from his service weapon at Browning’s vehicle.

The round struck the front of the car, causing Browning to lose control and stop, according to police. Officers then surrounded Browning and arrested him without further incident.

No injuries were reported in relation to the series of alleged crimes and the shooting, according to authorities.

Browning worked as a Hollister police officer from January 2002 to May 2007, according to Hollister city staff.

The alleged crimes of Sept. 9 were not Browning’s first offenses in recent weeks, according to authorities. On Sept. 7, Merced County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Browning after he assaulted a deputy who responded to a call that he was making threats on Highway 152 at Dinosaur Point, according to police.