Executive Shot in Face by Ambusher

The chief executive of a pharmaceutical company was ambushed and shot in the face as he arrived for work at the Irvine Spectrum office building Monday.

James Patrick Riley, 58, of Newport Beach, head of Biofem Inc., had just emerged from his car on Alton Parkway at about 10 a.m. when a masked gunman approached, shot him and ran through a courtyard to a waiting van. None of Riley’s belongings were taken, and police said they were still looking for a motive.

The bullet, fired from a small-caliber semiautomatic weapon, entered one cheek and exited the other, police said. Riley was reported to be in stable condition.

Leaving his belongings scattered in the parking lot and trailing blood, Riley went to the Palm Court Cafe and asked a waitress for help.


“He was standing up straight; he wasn’t stumbling,” waitress Martina Schultes said. “I called 911 and then he sat down.”

The gunman was last seen driving away from the scene in a silver Chevy Astro Van, headed north on Pacifica toward the San Diego Freeway. Police said witnesses were able to report a portion of the the vehicle’s license plate number: 2WR--552 or 2WR--522.