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Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles Times

August 5, 2005 Friday
Home Edition

CALIFORNIA; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 3


O.C. Reserve Deputy Is Suspended;
Four felony counts are lodged against the man who is also the sheriff's martial arts instructor. He allegedly pulled a gun and raged at golfers.

Christine Hanley, Times Staff Writer


An Orange County sheriff's reserve deputy was suspended from duty after his arrest Monday for allegedly flashing his badge, pulling a gun and threatening to kill a group of golfers at a Chino Hills course.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in San Bernardino County said Thursday that they were upping the charges against the reserve officer from a single misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm to four felonies: two counts each of assault with a firearm and making criminal threats.

Raymond K. Yi, a reserve deputy since 2002 and Sheriff Michael S. Carona's martial arts instructor, turned in his badge and his department-issued gun Tuesday.

After reviewing the case file Thursday, the San Bernardino district attorney's office determined that the incident warranted the more serious charges. The golfers who reported the incident had been surprised by the lone misdemeanor count and spent several days pressing authorities for an explanation.

"We thought he was getting away scot-free," said Juan Bautista, one of the foursome who reported the incident. "He was waving a gun and threatening our lives. It seemed a little unfair."

If convicted on all charges, Yi could face about 10 years in state prison. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 31.

"In our reading of the case, his conduct was egregious. Pointing a firearm at them and threatening to shoot them is worth much more than brandishing a firearm," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeremy Carrasco, head of the Chino Hills office handling the case.

Yi operates two taekwondo studios in Orange County and said he has been Carona's instructor for the last seven or eight years. Yi did not return phone calls Thursday.

Yi was arrested Monday, a day after the incident, and released the same day. He was also suspended that day when the department was informed of the arrest, pending the outcome of the criminal and internal investigations.

Michael Schroeder, a lawyer and spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said it did not appear that Yi's department-issued gun was involved in the golf course incident.

Yi had been issued an semiautomatic weapon by the department; the gun seen on the golf course was identified as a revolver, Schroeder said.

The incident began late Sunday morning on the 13th hole of the North Course at the Los Serranos Golf & Country Club in Chino Hills, after Yi's ball -- for the second time -- landed near a foursome that was playing ahead of him, according to the foursome.

One of the golfers hit Yi's ball off the fairway. Yi, who was also part of a foursome, approached the group, and a dispute broke out. The golfers said Yi finally told them, "Wait here. I'll be back." When he returned, they said, Yi flashed his badge and asked, "Do you know who I am?"

Marcelo Bautista, who was playing with his two brothers and an uncle, said Yi ordered him to retrieve the ball. Instead, Bautista said, he tossed Yi a ball from his bag and told him he wasn't going to get the other one. After Bautista climbed into his cart with his uncle, Yi pulled his gun and yelled, "Freeze" and "I will kill you," the golfers reported.

Players from both parties persuaded Yi to calm down and put down his gun, they said.

But Yi erupted again a short time later at the next green, they said. When the Bautistas' uncle, 61-year-old Gustavo Resendiz, got in the way, Yi shoved him and pulled his gun again, cocking it this time and threatening to kill him, Resendiz said Thursday.

"It scared me to death," said Resendiz, a semiretired engineer.

"I'm thinking about it every day. I have dreams about it."

August 5, 2005
 
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