A Valencia man is behind bars, suspected in more than 20 incidents of air gun-related vandalisms and assaults in Saugus, Canyon Country and Valencia dating back to August 2009.
Detectives had been working the case but had little to go on after 18 incidents occurred during an eight day period in August 2009 and the crimes just suddenly stopped.
Detectives got a substantial break in the case after another incident of assault occurred on Tuesday, January 12 near Seco Canyon Road and Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus.
During that incident a 47-year-old Saugus man was riding his bicycle in the area when a car pulled up alongside him and fired several shots from an air gun, striking the victim in the ankle. A resident in the area was able to get a license plate on a suspect vehicle. Four days later another incident occurred on Alaminos Drive, near Urbandale Avenue in Saugus. A motorist was driving in the area when his window was shattered by an air gun projectile which struck his 11-year-old son sitting in the back seat.
Detectives were able to identify a suspect and his vehicle, which was located and impounded on Wednesday. On Thursday, Andrew Khachatourian, 18, of Valencia, came to talk with detectives and was subsequently arrested in connection with more than 20 incidents of assault and vandalism. The August 2009 incidents involved the shooting out of 11 vehicle windows, six business windows, and one window of a residence. The arrest of a second suspect, a 16-year-old Saugus resident, is likely in the coming days.
Khachatorian was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on felony charges of vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending future court proceedings.
Deputies are concerned these incidents could have resulted in a different outcome because of the suspects repeated actions and the fact that he fired projectiles at moving occupied vehicles and bicyclists. Deputies are strongly encouraging all owners of such guns to handle them with the safety of themselves and others in mind and talk with their teenagers or young adults about the dangers posed by the possession and use of such guns. The guns should not be looked at or handled as toys.
Sheriff’s officials are advising that the commission of unlawful acts such as shooting projectiles at people, moving vehicles, windows, or other objects is a felony. Those caught could face felony assault charges and, if convicted, may face significant prison sentences. Officials are also advising of the potential dangers associated with such actions and the possibility that a motorist or bicyclist could lose control of their vehicle or bicycle causing serious injury or death, at which point the perpetrators could face even more severe felony charges.
Parents who are aware that their teenagers possess such BB or pellet guns may also be held civilly liable for damages to property or personal injury due to their unlawful or negligent use. Parents are urged to talk to their teenagers about the dangers associated with irresponsible and unlawful actions pertaining to air guns and the severe consequences that they could face if caught in violation of the law.