Retired deputy pleads not guilty to firing gun after doorbell prank

A now-retired Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to firing a gun into the air after he was "ding-dong-ditched" by a group of kids at his Stevenson Ranch home.

An attorney for Sung Jin Pak, 48, entered the plea on his client's behalf. Pak, who was not in court, was charged last month with one misdemeanor count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.


The judge ordered Wednesday that Pak not posses any firearms. He is due back in court Aug. 21.

Pak was arrested a month ago in connection with the Oct. 12 incident, when prosecutors allege he chased after a group of children who rang the doorbell at his home.

After the incident, then-sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal that an estimated 15-20 kids were involved in the prank. Whitmore said Pak ran after the pranksters to try to identify them.

"Apparently, three of the kids were physically larger than the others and turned toward Pak in a threatening manner," Whitmore said. "The deputy identified himself as a sheriff's deputy and fired a warning shot into the air."

Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, told the Signal that Pak was suspended without pay following his arrest.

Pak retired on June 2, Nishida told the Los Angeles Times. She did not elaborate on his history with the department or the allegations he faced.

If convicted of the misdemeanor, prosecutors said, Pak faces a maximum of one year in county jail. A sheriff's investigation into the case is ongoing, they added.

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