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Not guilty plea entered for former deputy charged with firing gun after prank

Incident allegedly took place following 'ding dong ditch' prank in Stevenson Ranch

Posted: July 16, 2014 1:26 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2014 7:17 p.m.

Defense attorney James E. Blatt, right, enters a plea of not guilty for Sung Jin Pak at the Newhall Municipal Court Wednesday as Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey S. Gootman looks on.

A not-guilty plea was entered Wednesday for a retired sheriff’s deputy charged with firing his gun after neighborhood kids played a “ding dong ditch” prank on him.

Attorneys for Sung Jin Pak, 47, of Stevenson Ranch, who faces one misdemeanor count of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, entered the plea for him in Newhall Municipal Court. Pak did not appear for the plea entry.

“We want to enter a plea of not guilty,” attorney James E. Blatt told Judge Valerie Salkin.

Salkin then asked prosecutors about a “firearm condition, and Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey S. Gootman replied: “Yes, we are asking that he is not to use or own any firearms.”

Gootman noted Pak had been in possession of two weapons. One was his “regular duty weapon,” which was turned in upon retirement, and the second was the firearm believed to have been used in the alleged gun-shooting offense.

“The second weapon is now evidence,” he said.

The judge ruled that Pak is not to own or use any firearm.

He faces a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm with gross negligence after allegedly chasing a group of children who had played a prank known as “ding dong ditch,” in which the prankster rings someone’s door bell and then runs away. Pak allegedly chased the kids who rang the bell at his Stevenson Ranch home and fired a gun into the air in the process, Gootman said.

Pak, who was still with the Sheriff’s Department at the time of the incident Oct. 12, 2013, is scheduled to appear back in court Aug. 21.

If convicted as charged, Pak faces a maximum of 365 days in county jail.

He remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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