Steven Honma was the kind of neighbor people said they made a point of inviting to social gatherings in their Westlake Village neighborhood, out of concern he would call the police.
Honma was among the guests Saturday at a Persian new year’s party, a festive gathering of more than 30 friends and relatives, including a Pasadena design instructor and his wife.
It was also Honma, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said, who grew suddenly enraged at a perceived insult during the party and marched to his home two doors away, returning minutes later with a knife and two guns.
Norman Schureman, 50, a teacher at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, was shot in the upper torso, said sheriff’s Lt. Liam Gallagher. Schureman died early Sunday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.
Neighbors Naomi and David Lunn dropped by the party, thrown by Schureman’s mother-in-law, and noticed Honma in the kitchen drinking several shots of tequila before food was served.
“He’s usually OK, but when he goes to other neighbors’ parties and drinks too much, his wife takes him home,” Naomi Lunn said.
Investigators said that on Saturday, Honma felt that someone had made a crude remark about his wife, and he took her home.
When Honma returned to the party, authoritiessaid, he opened the knife.
“They told him to put it away,” Gallagher said. “There was a physical altercation. They tackled him. That’s when he pulled a gun and fired it.”
Guests at the party held Honma, 55, until police arrived.
He is in custody and remains hospitalized with head wounds and internal injuries sustained in the scuffle.
Schureman, who lived in Altadena with his wife and children, was a respected design and drawing instructor who helped build floats for the Rose Parade as a hobby and recently launched a line of eyewear.
He was a graduate of the college where he taught.
As a child he used to tag along with his father, Bob Schureman, who began teaching at the Pasadena design college almost 40 years ago, according to the school.
In an online message, the college’s president, Lorne M. Buchman, referred to Norman Schureman as a “celebrated and adored member of our community.”
Ray Schureman, 57, of Salt Lake City said his younger brother showed a knack for art as a child and loved to camp, cook and dance.
“I don’t know of anybody who drank life more than he did,” he said. “He was the center at parties. He had a way of bringing people together and creating a special moment in time.”
On Monday, there were still green balloons with Persian writing and holiday lights over the entryway to the home on Kentfield Court where the party took place. Inside a window, a buffet table filled with party platters and pots was visible. No one answered the door.
Neighbors said Honma, who they believed worked as a building superintendent in Los Angeles, had a reputation in the upscale neighborhood. “He had a temper, especially after he had been drinking,” said neighbor Bill Waugh, who said he called deputies seven years ago to report that Honma had come onto his property and began shouting that he was going to kill Waugh’s wife.
Another neighbor, Berdine Lakotas, who has lived in the neighborhood for 38 years, said the host of the party lived by herself and frequently took care of her daughter’s children.
Lakotas said the woman had held the new year’s parties since moving into the neighborhood about three years ago.
Ray Schureman said his brother’s wife was Persian, and the couple had two young children.
Word of Schureman’s death spread quickly across the college community.
“I had Norm’s sketching class last semester, and he was like a father figure to me,” wrote one student in a blog post. “He always made sure I was alright when I looked sad in class. He made small talk and cared about everyone in the class.”
Colleagues say Schureman was known as a tough teacher who pressed students to take their workto the next level, said Art Center professor Bob Kato, who worked with him for 20 years.
“Norm was pretty demanding, but he was adored by the students,” said Kato, 46. “He’d take them on field trips every week -- to the zoo or airport to sketch. He’d bring animals on campus so his class could draw them. He was so well-respected.”
A memorial was held late Monday at the Pasadena campus.
Times staff writer Catherine Saillant contributed to this report.