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81-year-old man accused of terrorizing a California neighborhood with a slingshot dies days after his arrest

An 81-year-old man who investigators say terrorized a Southern California neighborhood for years with a slingshot has died just days after his arrest.

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

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

“We found no evidence of a crime,” Covarrubias told the Southern California News Group.

The man died of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the coroner said. Death was natural.

The man was released on parole on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to five counts of aggravated vandalism and two counts of minor vandalism.

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

During their investigation, detectives determined that “over the course of nine to 10 years, dozens of citizens were victims of a serial killer who fired a slingshot,” Azusa police said in a statement last week.

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

Azusa Police Lt. Jake Bushey said Saturday that detectives determined most of the ball bearings were shot from the suspect's backyard.

“We are not aware of any motive other than malicious damage to property,” Bushey told the news group.

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

Anna Harden

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