Man, 81, charged with terrorizing California neighborhood with slingshot dies days after arrest

AZUSA, Calif. (AP) — An 81-year-old man who investigators said terrorized a Southern California neighborhood for years with a slingshot has died just days after his arrest, authorities said.

The man was found dead Wednesday evening at a home in Azusa, east of Los Angeles, police Sgt. Nick Covarrubias said.

“We didn’t find any evidence of foul play,” Covarrubias told the Southern California News Group.

The man died of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to the medical examiner’s office, which ruled the death as natural.

The man had been released on his own recognizance Tuesday after pleading not guilty to five counts of felony vandalism and two counts of misdemeanor vandalism.

Police said the man was arrested May 23 on suspicion of breaking windows and car windshields and of narrowly missing people with ball bearings shot from a slingshot. No injuries were reported.

While conducting an investigation, detectives “learned that during the course of 9-10 years, dozens of citizens were being victimized by a serial slingshot shooter,” the Azusa Police Department said in a statement last week.

Officers serving a search warrant found a slingshot and ball bearings at the man's home in Azusa, police said.

Azusa police Lt. Jake Bushey said Saturday that detectives learned that most of the ball bearings were shot from the suspect’s backyard.

“We’re not aware of any kind of motive other than just malicious mischief,” Bushey told the news group.

While police suspected him of vandalizing windows in his neighborhood for about a decade, the LA County District Attorney’s Office charged him with vandalism from October 2021 to May 2024.