Is something in the water in Mission Viejo? Are moon beams hitting it at just the right (wrong) angle? Mood-altering, secret-government radiowaves, anyone? It's surely coincidence that within days of another there was a murder-suicide of a family of four "perfect Christians," a suicide performed in a public and another nearly completed in the normally sleepy city of 95,000. But the coroner should open a branch there if this keeps up.
The nightmare began Tuesday morning, when a welfare check by deputies led to the grisly discovery of Mark and Lydia Sheer and their children Amy and Michael, who were part of what friends and officials at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Mission Viejo knew as a "perfect Christian" family. The sheriff's department revealed last week that 21-year-old Michael is presumed to have taken out his father, 55, mother, 54, and 15-year-old sister with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.
A college student who lived at home, Michael Sheer had no prior criminal record, just three speeding tickets. The only chink in his armor came from a fellow former member of the Saddleback Valley Christian High School football team who observed for the Christian Post that Michael had trouble making friends--and that the interviewee may have been Michael's only friend.
The community around the Sheers' two-story home on Pacific Hills Drive was still numb by Friday, when deputies got a call in the wee hours from a man in a home on Argento saying he was going to hurt himself.
Seconds later, at 4:17 a.m., dispatchers had a nearby resident on the horn who'd heard a gunshot and seen a man slumped in the street. Deputies arrived to find a man who'd apparently shot himself to death, according to Lt. Jeff Hallock, the department spokesman.
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Later that same morning, around 10:30 a.m., firefighters were flagged down by a motorist who'd seen a man running in traffic lanes and yelling at passing motorists in the area of the 5 Freeway at the Crown Valley Parkway overpass in Mission Viejo. As firefighters approached the fellow, he purposely walked into the busy traffic lanes of the surface street, but when a fire captain ordered the distraught soul to sit down on the curb, he began running away in between cars.
He managed to reach the bridge abutment section of the overpass, shimmy out of the pedestrian safety fence and jump down 10 feet onto the ice plant, where a firefighter was waiting. The fellow darted toward the northbound lanes, but he was tackled by a paramedic and together they rolled about 50 feet down the embankment to the freeway's edge.
The 43-year-old was eventually sedated by paramedics, handcuffed by deputies and hauled off to Mission Hospital. We can't blame the water, moon or radiowaves for this one: authorities say he was under the influence of unspecified drugs.