Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homeless Suicide In Fairview Park

In a curious event that occurred early in the afternoon yesterday, an apparently homeless man shot and killed himself while being detained by a Costa Mesa police officer on routine patrol of Fairview Park.


The 50 year-old
man, identified in an Orange County Register article, HERE, as David Gardner, was observed seated in the driver's seat of a 1990 blue Honda. The officer confirmed through a license check that there was an outstanding warrant for him. Gardner, while being detained outside the Honda, apparently bolted to the car, entered the passenger seat and displayed a handgun. Fearing for his safety the officer fired one shot, which missed, and Gardner then took his own life.


According to the police report, Gardner left a suicide note threatening to take his own life in Fairview Park in May of this year, but the police were unable to locate him because he was living in his car.


This sad and strange event is an exclamation point on the Costa Mesa homeless issue and may add even more urgency to the Costa Mesa Homeless Task Force as it goes about it's charter to "solve" the homeless problem in our city.

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Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Another sad day in Costa Mesa when another person decides to take his life. I feel for the officer who had to witness the suicide.

8/23/2011 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous HadEnuf said...

Very unfortunate situation...thank goodness the officer is okay...can you imagine if it were a civilian Park Ranger (who are unarmed) that would have contacted this guy? The results could have been much much more tragic...there are dangerous people amongst the many homeless in our city - Parolees, sex registrants, alcoholics, drug users, wanted persons and yes mental health issues...

Seems there have been a lot more gun related incidents this year. The homeless are more frequently seen farther north, not just in Lions Park anymore. Getting kinda close to our Mesa Verde crowd...This homeless gun toting suicidal guy was awful close to two schools, in the park and very close to the local POP Warner facilities...What's it going to take? We already had a body dump at Estancia High this year...

So, since my last posting a couple of weeks ago, we lost another officer (congrats for the pick up Downey PD) which puts us down to 135 sworn. By my count thats 12 sworn who have fled in the last 3-4months because of this council. Several are injured and probably will never be able to return to full duty. Four officers are waiting to see if they have jobs in a couple of weeks or will be layed off in spite of those being off injured (Remember the magic 131 number?) Never mind that in short time (evidently not short enough) many will retire dropping us beyond those numbers and it generally takes upward of a year or more to hire someone (no laterals will be coming)...will council have the sense to at least leave these 4 in place?

8/23/2011 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous HadEnuf said...

And as far as the homeless; Costa Mesa has become "NIMBY" land...(George Carlin- NIMBY- Not In My Back Yard)..everyone wants to help, so long as the resources aren't in their city...sadly we are disproportionate when it comes to services offered compared to most other cities...its like feeding stray cats...

Two nights ago, a San Clemente Sheriff's Patrol car was seen leaving the area of Harbor and 19th just before midnight..Less than 5 minutes later, a 911 call from the First Step House on Charle Street requiring CMFD and CARE ambulance and Hoag Hospital resources for a drunk going thru DT's...guess who just dropped him off at Charle Street? The Sheriffs are not able to arrest and book public intoxication, so they find a bed for him (at Charle Street) who in turn cannot care for him, thus tie up CM and Hoag resources so they can feel good that they are giving back...

Congrats CM, you've just inherited another CM "resident" who will be released from the hospital and back on the streets of CM, not San Clemente...and thats how the cycle continues and the CM transient population booms...and why CM will never solve the local homeless problem...

keep cutting public safety and build them that hotel though..."If you build it, they WILL come"

8/23/2011 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger feral390 said...

HadEnuf you are right on, our cities homeless population are not just a bunch of poor down on their luck downtrodden souls, there are some seriously mentally ill and violent folks that hang out in our parks. Just recently one was sentenced to prison for bludgeoning a volunteer at the soup kitchen, a staff member at the NCC was assaulted, a kid was hit with some object at Lions Park.
Interesting that our city outlaws small groups of kids playing sports in our parks but nothing is done to restrict organized feedings or gatherings of the homeless.

8/23/2011 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous cite your source said...

feral390, get your facts straight: The CM homeless about as violent as you are. That is a fact. Perhaps one of the PD officers who comment here will confirm that. Homeless violence is a myth.

8/23/2011 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous jim jungle said...

cite your sources...

I hate to break it to you but you need to get out more. The homeless are not your happy go lucky hobos like in some 1940's film....

If youre so inclined to believe they are the nice guys you think they are, invite them over for dinner to your home to fill their hungry tummies.

Staph, MRSA, violent mental tendencies, sexual predators, maniacs, parolees, sex registrants, arson registrants, the 50 year old parolee just released from prison after serving 25 years for murder, oh yeah, and THE MOST horrid diseases and filth you can't even imagine in your worst nightmares.... Welcome to Costa Mesa.


Tell you what, just keep paying your taxes so cops have to deal with them and all the other miscreants in society. So you don't have to deal with them blowing their faces off on your front lawn...

Oh yeah, that's what we all do already...


8/24/2011 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

cite your source, CM's homeless have displayed violence over the years. In addition to the incidents feral390 cited, a homeless person stomped to death another homeless person several years ago on Harbor Blvd. In another incident, a homeless person stomped on the head and severely injured a person behind the Circle K at Wilson and Fairview. I am certain there are more incidents, but homeless violence is not a myth.

8/24/2011 06:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Hand'm their hat said...


Please let any other @ CMPD know that wish to leave not to let the door hit them on the way out.

How can the new coach build a solid team when some don't want to be on the team?

Why won't Alan Rickhof (sp?) leave?

Figures.. We might loose a good one, but can't get rid of some.

8/24/2011 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

Hand'm their hat...
Costa Mesa is/was a solid team but unfortunately control has been handed over to a completely incompetent, cluless band of corrupt politicians.
I guess the fact that several department heads, a police chief and scores of quality employees have left and continue to leave for other "teams" is lost on you.

8/24/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Hat x 2 said...


Stavely list his marbles on the way out. Could not handle the fundamental structural changes necessary to move forward.

No other Council will trust him for Chief, anywhere. No consulting, like @ J & M. Only Union gigs for him.

I think more need to leave CMPD.

Why doesn't the thug Alan Rickhof find a new job? What is in his history that would prevent that?

Why is Huggins & Gogerty still there.

Job #1 for new Chief will be to change the culture. The folks above would be a big step forward on a cultural evolution. Bring a couple key NB folks into those positions.

Union behaves same way in next election, I would expect more community backlash.

Tell your buddies in blue to stay out of politics and open their contract.

8/24/2011 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Walt for short said...

Hatx2, Stavely is actually doing quite well since his departure. You see, often people refuse to sell their souls and Stavely was one of those people.

Can you plase provide some examples of Rieckhof's thuggery? You elude Rieckhof may possibly be tainted. How could you possibly know that?

Can you please provide some reasons or examples as to why Huggins & Gogerty should NOT still be there?

Could you in fact be the same council member who repeatedly asked Stavely to fire Huggins and Gogerty simply because they see right through you and your unfounded ego?

Or could it be that you are a disgruntled do nothing slug who has had troubles promoting within the department?


8/24/2011 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous i'll keep my hat said...

Walt, I gotta tell you, I don't trust CMPD.

I thinkwhat happened in Fullerton could happen in Costa Mesa.

Your knowledge of CMPD shows. As does your rage.
Have you seen the Dept. Shrink lately? I bet she would love to see you.

8/24/2011 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I'll keep my hat,
I misread your last comment. EVERYBODY has seen the dept. "shrink" - from 164 to its current head count of around 135, heading south to 125 plus 5 in anticipated grant staff.

8/24/2011 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Walt for short said...

Rage? I'm not even mad.

Could you please explain why you don't trust the CMPD?

Could you please explain why you feel what happened in Fullerton could happen in Costa Mesa?

It's easy to make blanket statements. Now how about some facts?

8/24/2011 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Thankfully the CMPD officer involved was very WELL TRAINED and had his head in the game. How else do you think he was exhonerated of any wrong doing as reported that no further investigation would be needed based on the evidence. The officer did not shoot more than one time, many untrained, unprofessional officers would have unloaded their clip, after someone killed themself. This officer had the presence to turn on every single recording device he had, because of his training . I think the counsells actions has caused the remaining CMPD to step up in professionalism and COURAGE.

As a tax paying citizen I take offense to your uneducated, democratic mascott comments like "Tell your buddies in blue to stay out of politics and open their contract." or "Please let any other @ CMPD know that wish to leave not to let the door hit them on the way out."

I bet you would still be wiping your pants clean after that situation. Be thankful this officer responded to the situation in the manner he did so that this media mess of a city, because of your fluffers on the dais, does not draw even more unnecessary press. Instead it got ~150 words in the DP and Register and ABC.

Again, I beg that the city make the MVCC community its own city, many problems solved.

8/24/2011 07:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Hand'm their hat ... said...

Rich, I agree with your assesment.

I still think the culture @ CMPD allows for Fullerton like scenario.

Residents do not trust the boys in blue

8/25/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

@Hat - if you got a beef against a certain CMPD officer then file a complaint, otherwise shut up. I suspect you are just pissed because the officer did his job.

8/25/2011 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Hmmmm ? said...

Is Ptred Huggins? Sounds kind of like Stavely?

8/25/2011 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous StrayBulletsKill said...

Where did the bullet end up?

Why did he miss? Do we need to pay for more bullets and targets for practice?

If an officer came to my neighborhood on a 417, draws his weapon, fires one shot and missed, I would not want to be at home in the house that bullet goes into.

The park was open space. If the gunman had decided to fire back at the officer (suicide by cop) where would those bullets have ended up? Huntington Beach? How about the Waldorff School; maybe a duffer celebrating his first hole-in-one or an unsuspecting patient at Fairview Hospital?

A standard load .38 has killing power to little over a mile. A .45 or 9mm can kill up to 1.5 miles. I am more concerned that our CMPD missed than if had taken out the assailant. I guess it was better he only fired once with an aim like that... luckier yet, the gunman hit his target.

8/26/2011 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous StopWatchingTV said...


According to the press the guy shoots himself while sitting in the front passenger seat. In one article a witness heard two shots fired quickly - so it probably happened fast. My guess the officer shot into the vehicle, through the windshield. Did some checking, easy enough to do, about shooting into a vehicle and read a couple articles by gun gurus. ALL the articles I read say its difficult to hit the target through a windshield with one shot.

The consensus is if you're shooting from outside the vehicle, to hit a target inside the vehicle through the windshield, your aim should be above your desired point of impact.
Full metal jacket ammo works best because any hard impact, windshield or other, will cause any bullet to fragment, especially hollow points. Hollow points are standard police issues.

All rounds regardless of caliber will deflect, some more than others, and none could be counted on to strike where intended. Many rounds will miss by several inches and some will miss completely. the conclusion is no rounds can be counted on to strike the target with any degree of certainty.

If you want to avoid deflection, the best way is to shoot several rounds through the same windshield area, open up a hole, put the muzzle through the hole and fire from there.

Windshield glass (front & rear) is laminated glass: 2 layers of glass bonded together with a middle layer of pvb plastic.  in the event the glass breaks, the plastic layer holds the glass pieces together so the windshield remains whole, the glass barrier is essentially intact.  an added benefit is pvb blocks 99% of uv light.

I agree with the previous posting by Rich, the officer did a fantastic job given a tragic situation, by not overreacting and maintaining discipline even after being threatened.

And to you, Mr Straybullets - try doing a little research about things before you post comments on a blog. Have some respect for the people who put themselves in harms way everyday for us, people who would even help you, before you decide to put them down based on your feelings. Reality is different from television action movies.

8/27/2011 09:47:00 AM  

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