OC DA Deems Deputy-Involved Shooting in Ladera Ranch (Yes, Ladera Ranch) Justified
Deputy shooting in suburbia
By Branden Pinney via Wikimedia Commons
Police bullets don't just fly in north and central OC. Amazingly, this phenomenon also occurs in master-planned communities like Ladera Ranch.
The nine "village" community of 23,000 officially joined OC's officer-involved-shooting club on the night of June 29, 2014. Shaun Paquette, his wife and their two children started off chill enough when they headed out to a friend's party. But then Paquette started drinking a bit too much. He belligerently accused a fellow reveler of stealing $11 from him.
The argument prompted a designated driver to send the Paquette family packing back home. That's where things got uglier.
A recently released Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) office investigation claims that once home, Paquette and his wife got in an argument over his behavior at the party. Still drunk, the 29-year-old man starting blaring about how unhappy he was at work and in his marriage. He demanded his car keys. When his wife refused, Paquette went upstairs to get his gun instead.
The 29-year-old man confronted her and their children outside. Startled by the commotion, a neighbor called police around 10:30 p.m. Orange County Sheriff Deputy Patrick Baek and Chaplin Christopher Grant arrived on-scene first. Baek radioed for backup and deputy Justin Mathieson showed up.
When Mathieson did, he saw Paquette inside the home standing over his wife with a gun pointed at her head. "I thought she was going to be executed right there," Mathieson told OCDA investigators. Paquette's wife managed to move a few feet away from him when he next caught sight of Baek and Grant's positioning.
Fearing for the woman's life and that of his partners, Mathieson ordered Paquette to drop the gun. When he didn't, the deputy fired three rounds, striking him in the lower abdomen and right hip.
Paquette survived the gunshot wounds. Last month, he pleaded guilty to felony assault with a firearm, felony child endangerment and misdemeanor spousal battery. A judge sentence him to a year in Orange County Jail.
"Deputy Mathieson was justified when he shot Paquette," the OCDA report reads. With that, the investigation into the Ladera Ranch gun slinging closed until the next one happens.
As always, read the report in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2