Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 5 years
Badge # 612
Cause: Vehicle pursuit
Offender: Sentenced to life
Officer Nick Birco was killed when his patrol car was struck by a van being pursued by officers at the intersection of Cambridge and Felton Streets.
The persons in the van had been involved in an earlier robbery of an individual. The victim had accompanied officers during a search of the van and located it a short distance away. As the officers approached it, the van sped away.
The officers pursued the van until it struck the rear quarter-panel of Officer Birco's patrol car, causing it spin around and strike a utility pole. The van then struck two buildings and crashed. Officer Birco had aborted an attempt to lay down spike strips at the intersection and was moving his patrol car when it was struck.
All four persons were taken into custody. The three occupants of the van were charged with murder, manslaughter, and other charges. The driver was convicted by a jury on Sept. 23, 2010 of second degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, evading police and gross vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Two other suspects were offered plea deals of 15 years, and the fourth suspect was never charged.
On May 30, 2014, the California Court of Appeals upheld the second degree murder conviction but overturned his sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Officer Birco was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Officer Birco was a US Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War. He had served with the San Francisco Police Department for 5 years and was survived by his parents, two sisters, brother-in-law, niece, and two nephews.