The District Attorney’s office will review the case in the next two weeks to decide whether to file criminal charges.
By Laura Tate / Special to The Malibu Times
The Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s Station has released the names of the three suspects in the Point Dume shooting incident that took place Feb. 24.
Mark Daniel Sevignuy, 18, of Santa Monica, Johnathan Joseph Bettencourt, 18, of Danville and Alexander Ameno Parker, 18, of Los Angeles were arrested on felony charges of burglary and threats of death or great bodily injury, and for vandalism, a misdemeanor. Sevignuy was also arrested for misdemeanor charges of brandishing a deadly weapon (not a firearm) and driving under the influence. All three men posted bail of $50,000 each Feb. 25.
A decision on whether to file formal criminal charges will be made by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office after reviewing the case within the next two weeks. The suspects are scheduled to be arraigned in the Malibu Superior Court on April 24.
The three men allegedly walked into a private residence on Dume Drive around 2 a.m. Feb. 24 and, after being told to leave by residents, a confrontation ensued. Allegedly one of the men attempted to stab one of the residents and made death threats. The three men left after the residents called 911. Two Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s deputy units responded to the scene and approximately five to 10 minutes after the deputies left, the three men returned to the residence and allegedly began firing an air pellet gun at the home, breaking windows, and began kicking in the door. According to a sheriff’s deputy report, one of the residents began firing a 9 mm handgun at the men, forcing them to retreat. The suspects were later arrested on Kanan Road in Agoura.
Lt. Debra Glafkides, in an e-mail to The Malibu Times, said it was reported that “a total of two shots were fired from the victim’s residence. Only one bullet hole and projectile was located.”
Sheriff’s deputies confiscated the semi-automatic handgun that was used in the shooting. California law requires only registration with the state for a weapon purchased for home protection and kept within the confines of a home, Glafkides said. The lieutenant said proof of ownership and registration of the handgun has not yet been provided to Sheriff’s officials and is pending verification.
The incident has left residents of the area shaken, and some say there are groups of young people in the area who cause problems on a regular basis.
One resident, who found the bullet hole in the building where they live across the street from the scene of the shooting, in an e-mail to the city regarding the incident, said, “What is particularly scary, is one of these groups attracts Malibu youth adults between 20-25, and some obviously have weapons and aren’t afraid to use them.
“What is more frightening is that if this incident had happened earlier, there might have been innocent bystanders involved.”
The victims in the case say that they, too, believe there are problem-causing people in the area. They said they believe that the three men who came to their home were probably looking for a party that was taking place during the time of the incident at a home down the street from where they live.
The response of Sheriff’s deputies regarding the incident was called into question as well.
The victims had complained that Sheriff’s deputies had left the scene after the first 911 call after they were “begged” not to, because the victims feared the return of the suspects. They also said the response time to the second call was inordinately long. Glafkides said the first unit arrived on the scene five minutes after the first call at 2:27 a.m. the Sunday morning of the incident, and while the handling unit gathered initial crime information, assisting units searched the area for the suspects but were unable to locate them. The handling unit left the scene approximately 40 minutes after arriving to “resume their patrol duties and calls,” Glafkides said.
“At no time did the handling deputies advise the victims the Malibu /Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station was understaffed,” Glafkides said.
The second 911 call came in at 3:20 a.m., approximately 10 minutes after deputies left, Glafkides said, and the suspects were apprehended on Kanan Road and taken into custody at approximately 3:39 a.m.
Responding to questions about the alleged slow response time, Glafkides said, “The city of Malibu traverses 21 miles along Pacific Coast Highway. At 60 miles per hour it would take a vehicle 21 minutes to traverse the city with no impediments.
“The Sheriff’s Department strives to maintain the most expedient response times for both emergent and non-emergent requests for service. While there is always room for improvement, the response and apprehension times related to this incident were superior relative to the span of area traversed by both the suspects and responding sheriff’s units,” she added.
Responding to fears by residents about dangerous activity in the area, Glafkides recommended that a town hall meeting with the residents of Dume Drive would be “a beneficial first step to begin calming fears and create educational enhancement for crime prevention.”
“As in any community, no matter how safe, the unfortunate reality of crime does exist,” Glafkides said.