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Feud Ends in Death for Two

Deputy mediating the dispute is caught in the middle when a Yucaipa man guns down his neighbor. The deputy then kills the gunman.

August 04, 2003|Hugo Martin | Times Staff Writer

San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies on Sunday were investigating the shooting death of a 74-year-old Yucaipa man who fatally shot his neighbor in front of a sheriff's deputy and was then shot and killed by the deputy.

Donald Van Zant shot his neighbor, Carl Miles, 49, several times Saturday as Miles and a sheriff's deputy arrived at Van Zant's home to resolve a dispute between the two over allegations that Van Zant had slashed the tires on Miles' car, according to Robin Haynal, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Miles died later at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

In response, the deputy fired several rounds at Van Zant, killing him on his own front porch, Haynal said.

The lone deputy responded to a call from Miles in the 35400 block of Wildwood Canyon Road about 3:30 p.m. Miles said Van Zant had slashed his tires, Haynal said. Deputies had been called several times in the past to resolve a feud between the two men, she said.

When the deputy arrived, he accompanied Miles next door to Van Zant's home, Haynal said. "The deputy just went there to mediate the situation," she said.

When Van Zant opened the door, Miles told Van Zant that the deputy was there to arrest him, Haynal said. Van Zant pulled out a concealed semi-automatic weapon and shot Miles, she said. The deputy then shot Van Zant, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Haynal said.

The deputy, whose name had not been released pending an investigation, is a six-year veteran of the department.

The sheriff's spokeswoman said she did not know what the two men had been feuding over but she said Miles' tires had been slashed.

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