John Edward Kudla, 17, Charged as Adult in Hammer Attack on His Father, Reserve Sheriff's Sgt. Jon Kudla: Update
See the update on page 2 with the counts against John Edward Kudla, who is being charged as an adult in the attempted murder of Orange County Sheriff's Reserve Sgt. Jon M. Kulda, who is comatose.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 22, 4:18 P.M.: A 50-year-old Orange County reserve sheriff's sergeant was shot, possibly in the head, and severely beaten, possibly with a hammer, by a 17-year-old occupant of their Rancho Santa Margarita home today, authorities say. The boy, later identified by neighbors as the victim's son, surrendered after a car chase, but fears he was armed and heading to Trabuco Hills High School prompted a campus lockdown.
The mother of the sheriff's reserve sergeant called 9-1-1 around 9:45 a.m. to say her son had suffered severe head trauma in a beating in an upstairs bedroom in the 21000 block of Shadow Rock Lane, according to Jim Amormino, the sheriff's spokesman.
The man was rushed to Mission Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition with blunt force trauma to the head, possibly caused by a hammer, according to investigators, who added he may also have been shot in the head.
The presumed son was driving a black convertible that a California Highway Patrol officer spotted on the San Gabriel (605) Freeway at the Santa Ana (5) Freeway and followed him to East Los Angeles, where the teen was pulled over.
The youth, whose name and relationship to the victim was withheld, was taken back to Orange County for questioning, according to Amormino, who identified him only as a "person of interest."
Neighbors described the father and son as having a typical relationship and seeing no signs of discord. "They were just building stuff the last time I saw them," a teen neighbor named Toan told KABC Eyewitness News. "They had a work bench out here, and they were just sanding things down, so it looked just normal. I didn't think anything was wrong at all."
After the boy suspect was in custody, Trabuco Hills High School posted this message on its website at 4:04 p.m.:
The THHS campus was placed on a lockdown today by the OC Sheriffs Dept. as a precaution during an off-site incident they were investigating. As soon as they determined that no danger existed on the campus, the lockdown was lifted. Students were released to lunch and then to their period 7 classes and the day concluded with business as usual.
The lockdown was reportedly lifted at 1 p.m. The same high school was locked down on April 23 after a senior called in a bomb threat from campus. He was later arrested.