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Suspected Theater Gunman Pleads Not Guilty

Tom Billodeaux pleaded not guilty Wednesday while he was in the hospital.

A man shot by police inside a Carmel Mountain movie theater after he allegedly confronted his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint at a nearby restaurant where she worked pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony assault and other charges from his hospital bed at Palomar Medical Center.

Tom Billodeaux, 22, of Escondido, was ordered held on $2 million bail.

, San Diego police Lt. Ernie Herbert said.

Officers arrived to find Billodeaux had fled the scene, and witnesses said the man was armed with a handgun and had run across Rancho Carmel Drive to another shopping center, Herbert said.

The defendant's ex-girlfriend was able to get away with the help of co- workers and others who witnessed the confrontation, police said.

Officers tracked Billodeaux to the Reading Cinemas Carmel Mountain 12 movie theater and later found the suspect sitting alone in a theater where "Les Miserables" was playing.

Billodeaux initially complied with police verbal commands to determine if he was armed, but the suspect then lowered his hands into his lap, raised a handgun and turned it toward an officer, police said.

. A second officer was present but did not fire his weapon, police said.

No one else was injured.

Billodeaux was charged today with three counts of assault with a firearm, threats using a firearm and assault on a peace officer with a firearm, according to Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals.

The defendant faces 30 years in prison if convicted.

Judge Richard Mills scheduled a readiness conference for Jan. 30 and a preliminary hearing for Feb. 26 at the courthouse in downtown San Diego.

Mills ordered Billodeaux to have no contact with the ex-girlfriend and two good Samaritans who helped her.

-City News Service

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