A sheriff’s deputy who allegedly fired his service revolver into the air after neighborhood kids pulled a prank has been arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Deputy Sung Jin Pak, 47, of Westridge, was arrested Friday night on the misdemeanor weapons charge in connection with an alleged “ding dong ditch” incident on Greenleaf Court that occurred in October.
Pak has been suspended with pay for the past six months while sheriff’s detectives with the Internal Criminal Investigations Branch look into the matter, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said last month.
“The arrest stems from an incident that happened on Oct. 12, Nishida said Monday.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, “ding dong ditch” is the Americanized version of a prank that has its origins in England dating back to the 1800s. A prankster comes to the front door of a home and knocks or rings the doorbell, and runs away. It is a harmless if annoying prank played by children on every continent, under any number of names. At worst, the prankster is guilty of trespassing, though the police are rarely called for what is rather obviously a kid’s game (full disclosure: our home was “ding dong ditched” in the fall. Everyone involved survived).
It is incredibly rare for the prank to end in violence, and the injuries only usually when the prankster trips over something in the victim’s yard when trying to make his or her escape.
The LASD deputy here showed incredibly bad judgement in firing an apparent warning shot in reaction to being pranked.
I would consider a law enforcement officer with such poor judgment to be a liability and a public safety risk. I hope that if Deputy Sung Jin Pak is in is deed found guilty that he is either terminated from the LASD, or is placed in a desk position where he is not a threat to the public.
As a side note, I’m curious: does the LASD still issue or allow deputies to carry revolvers?