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Ex-MCA Worker Sentenced in Shootings : Crime: The man gets 10 years for a sniper attack on firm's Universal City headquarters. Seven were injured.

March 10, 1994|JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A judge sentenced a disgruntled former employee to 10 years in prison Wednesday for shooting into the MCA world headquarters in Universal City and injuring seven workers.

John Brian Jarvis, of Pleasanton, Calif., struck a last-minute deal with prosecutors when he pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied building in return for the 10-year sentence.

"It was a fair sentencing," Deputy Dist. Atty. David Conn said. "What we're dealing with here is a 58-year-old man with no history of criminal behavior. He was apparently acting under great emotional distress following the death of his mother."

Superior Court Judge John Reid imposed the sentence.

Conn said there was no evidence that Jarvis intended to kill, noting that he put his rifle down several times during the shooting spree so that pedestrians could walk by.

The barrage erupted when Jarvis parked his brown-and-white station wagon on Bluffside Drive on the morning of April 20. He peppered MCA's headquarters and a neighboring Bank of America building with three dozen rounds from a high-powered 7-millimeter rifle, wounding seven employees, police said.

Hundreds more employees, realizing only gradually that the strange whip-cracking sound was a muzzle report, crouched in terror for up to half an hour, not knowing whether the shots were coming from within the building or outside.

The shooting ended when officers in a lone black-and-white police car drove up behind Jarvis and ordered him to surrender. He put the rifle down and calmly gave up.

The bullets wounded two women, including Dixie Tung, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Five other people were injured by flying shards of glass and metal.

Jarvis later told police that he believed that MCA, where he had once worked as a movie studio driver, had blackballed him, causing his chronic unemployment. Company officials have described the allegations as untrue.

"I did what I had to do," Jarvis said in a June interview.

Before the plea bargain, Jarvis had pleaded not guilty to 16 felony charges and faced a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.

Police said Jarvis also told them that he fired at the next-door Bank of America because he owed an undisclosed amount of money to the bank.

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