For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 28 YEARS IN PRISON FOR POINTING SUBMACHINE GUN AT POLICE OFFICERS AFTER INITIATING 3-HOUR STAND-OFF
SANTA ANA – A man who initiated a 3-hour stand-off in Santa Ana was sentenced Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, to 28 years in state prison for repeatedly pointing a submachine gun in the direction of police officers. Stephen Thomas Foust, 45, Whittier, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 8, 2012, of one felony count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer and one felony count of exhibiting firearm in presence of a peace officer with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. The defendant has four felony prior strike convictions stemming from 1985 juvenile adjudications, including two felony false imprisonments and two assaults with a deadly weapon. At the sentencing, the court granted the defense motion to strike three of the prior strike convictions but maintained one of the priors, which resulted in the doubling of the defendant’s sentence.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 1, 2009, Foust returned to the mobile home where he lived with his parents in Santa Ana armed with a submachine gun loaded with more than 20 rounds, and possessing more than 270 additional rounds of ammunition. The defendant informed his father that he intended to kill himself and threatened to kill his father if he intervened. When his father said he intended to call the police, Foust told his father, “Go ahead, I’ll have them kill me.”
Officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) arrived at the scene and located the defendant outside of his father’s home. The officers observed from approximately 15 to 20 feet away that the defendant was armed and yelled to him to drop his weapon. Foust responded by running to the carport and yelling, “I’m going to kill myself. Shoot me. Shoot me.” The defendant then got into his parked Nissan, where he remained for the duration of the 3-hour stand-off.
While awaiting back-up from Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and other officers, an SAPD officer began engaging Foust in a discussion and attempted to have the defendant drop his weapon and exit the vehicle. The officer repeatedly advised Foust that he could hurt or kill an officer if he discharged his weapons and warned that he would be shot if he pointed his weapon at anyone.
Several officers and SWAT team members responded to the scene. A SWAT officer assumed communication with Foust, who told officers that he had 75 rounds, and that it was going to be a, “Hell of a gun fight” and, “hell of a shoot-out.” The defendant also told officers, “I’m going to kill you guys.”
Foust became increasingly agitated, aggressive and angry towards the officers. He was repeatedly asked to give himself up, drop his weapon and come out of the car without his firearm. Foust refused; responding instead with threats not only to kill himself, but with threats directed to the officers, and by repeatedly pointing the firearm outside the driver’s window or over his shoulder in the direction of the officers.