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Man Held in Arrow Incident Is Freed

Despite the wounding of a deputy, no law was broken, O.C. district attorney's office says.

July 02, 2003|Zeke Minaya and Mai Tran | Times Staff Writers

An Aliso Viejo man arrested over the weekend for shooting an arrow that struck a sheriff's deputy in the leg was released Tuesday after district attorney officials determined that there's no law for negligently fired arrows.

Tri Thanh Lam, 44, was released from Orange County Jail, where he had been held on $1-million bail since Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder. Authorities would not disclose what Lam told investigators, but said they have no evidence that he intentionally aimed at the deputy.

Unlike with guns, "there is no crime if you discharge a bow and arrow negligently," said Susan Shroeder, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office.

Lam was released because "there's no evidence to prove intent at this point," but he could be rearrested pending new evidence, Schroeder said.

Sheriff's officials said Lam should be held responsible.

"I still think that he was negligent," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "He could have caused somebody serious injury or death."

Authorities said the arrow struck sheriff's Deputy Owen Hall, 30, after he had pulled over a motorist on Aliso Creek Road about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

A video camera on the deputy's patrol car shows the arrow striking Hall in the calf. Hall released the motorist and drove to nearby Hummingbird Park, where he called paramedics and then pulled the arrow from his leg, Amormino said.

The shooting was not related to the traffic stop, authorities said.

Hall was taken to Mission Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, where he was treated for a small wound and a chip on his shin bone, then released.

Authorities searched the area Saturday evening and Sunday. Lam lives on a cul-de-sac adjacent to the street where Hall was struck. Lam answered the knock by coming out of his garage, where deputies spotted a hunting bow and five arrows that matched the one that struck Hall. They obtained a search warrant, and Lam was arrested after questioning.

Neighbors said Lam loves to practice with targets in the backyard.

The shooting "was a mistake," said neighbor Sharon Fiocch.

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