"Beck worked for the Arcadia Police Department from June 1987 through August 1988. After that, he was dismissed for lying to his superiors while still on his 18-month probationary period. According to his parole officerís report, Beck felt he had been unfairly left at the scene of a burglary by his supervising officer. "(Beck) indicates that he was fired from that job when he reported his supervisor having left him when they responded to a burglary in progress. The supervisorís story was different and the police personnel did not believe (Beck)," the report stated.
Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was killed as he responded to a shootout in Stevenson Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, Aug. 31, after a man opened fire on federal and local officials trying to serve a search warrant.
Charged in the incident was a former Arcadia police officer, James Allen Beck, with weapons violations and impersonating a U.S. marshal. Beck, a twice-convicted felon, allegedly shot Kuredjian from the second floor of his home as the deputy ducked for cover behind a nearby car when violence erupted.
Kuredjian, 40, was hit in the head by a single bullet, officials reported. Several minutes passed before other law enforcement personnel could pull him to safety because Beck continued to fire at them.
Beck died after tear gas canisters ignited the home causing it to become a fiery tomb. During earlier telephone negotiations following the initial barrage of gunfire, he apologized for shooting the deputy.
A former police officer with a criminal record and a penchant for firearms allegedly shot and killed a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy during a wild gun battle Friday, then apparently died in a fire that consumed his house and blackened the sky over a terrified Santa Clarita Valley neighborhood.
Authorities said James Allen Beck, 35, opened fire through his front door after federal agents and two sheriff's officials tried to serve a search warrant at his home in the Stevenson Ranch development, where crime is rare and fountains gurgle on the front lawns of spacious, Spanish-tiled homes.
"We were attempting to serve a search warrant . . . and the guy opened up on us," said William Woolsey, a supervisory deputy U.S. marshal. "He opened fire. Automatic weapon fire." In doing so, authorities said, Beck started a siege that claimed the life of Sheriff's Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian, 40, a popular motorcycle officer who was struck down shortly after responding to a call of shots fired.
The suspect and the authorities exchanged hundreds of rounds of gunfire--shattering some windows and pocking the walls of nearby homes--before sheriff's deputies blasted as many as 15 tear gas canisters into the Beck home. Top-ranking sheriff's officials ordered the tear-gas barrage, aiming it at the home's second story, after Beck allegedly shot Kuredjian from a second-floor window, a spokesman said. The officials also believed the tear gas might force Beck to don a gas mask, making it more difficult for him to fire his weapon accurately. Fire erupted and quickly raged through the two-story building.
As the gunfire ebbed, the roof collapsed and flames and black smoke boiled skyward. Firefighters soaked the roofs of neighboring homes. Later, they trained towering arches of water on the Beck home, which was reduced to a blackened pit of wet, steaming embers.
No other homes caught fire and there were no other injuries, officials said.
A nearby elementary school was locked down and evacuated. Residents in the big homes near the siege found themselves running for safety or cowering in terror. Ashes drifted lazily through the air and armored police assault vehicles roamed the empty streets. There was no immediate indication that any remains had been found in the ruins of Beck's house, but authorities said they presumed the suspect had died in the fire.
Although the use of tear gas has controversial associations with fires, a sheriff's spokesman said investigators did not think the canisters had ignited the fire. "They believe that the fire was started by the suspect and wasn't started by tear gas," said Deputy Harry Drucker. Officials with two federal agencies, however, said it was not clear how the fire started. "Historically, there have been instances where tear gas started a fire," said Donald Kincaid, agent in charge of the Southern California division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
September 4, 2001
"When the ATF comes to town, things just seem to have a way of getting out of hand. Consider the shootout that occurred in the exclusive Stevenson Ranch neighborhood in Santa Clarita, California (a northern suburb of Los Angeles) on August 31, 2001.
...What we have here then, or so it would appear, is a case of a search warrant that could have been peacefully served but wasn't, thereby leading to a gunfight in which it was unclear how the first shots were fired, and during which an officer was killed by 'friendly fire,' with the standoff ending when the building under siege was completely destroyed by a fire of uncertain origin. Now, where have I heard this story before ....
ATF GETS THEIR MAN!!!
THE REAL STORY ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA "SNIPER" Posted By: Anon (You know why)
Date: 8/31/01 14:05
I don't know if this will eventually come out or not but the truth is that the suspect James Beck is a former DEA agent who several years ago was arrested by the ATF for possession of machine guns. Funny thing was, the guy was properly licensed. Unfortunately, he had several pre and post samples of each gun (like 25 MP5's, 30 UZI's, etc). In any case, he was arrested, charged and tried. First trial; hung jury. Second trial; hung jury. The feds decided to try a 3rd time so he filed a lawsuit for malicious prosecution AND WON. Guess what, they tried him a 3rd time anyway. Result, another hung jury. Is it possible that the ATF was gunning for this guy. Probably. The ATF spin doctors are already hard at work calling this guy a ";sniper" The fact of the matter is that when an arrest warrant is executed, it's not standard practice to have the ATF as backup. They wanted to burn this guy out and use the fire as an excuse for the "destroyed evidence". This was a government sponsored retaliatory assassination. He didn't start the fire, the tear gas did. Those are the facts.