Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
TEEN GRAFFITI TAGGER SENTENCED FOR STABBING RETIRED POLICE OFFICER IN HUNTINGTON BEACH
SANTA ANA – A teenage tagger was convicted today of stabbing a retired police officer who caught him writing graffiti on the side of a Huntington Beach business. Luke Artinger, 18, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty to one felony count of battery causing serious bodily injury and two felony counts of vandalism with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The defendant, who was 16 years old at the time of the crime and direct filed as an adult, was sentenced to five years in state prison.
On Feb. 28, 2007, Artinger was writing graffiti behind a business at 8851 Adams Avenue in Huntington Beach. Retired Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Ronald Chavers, who was sitting in a nearby car, witnessed Artinger tagging the side of the building and got out to confront the defendant. Chavers approached the defendant and attempted to grab his arm to hold him until police arrived. Artinger tugged his arm away and Chavers pulled him to the ground. While Chavers had the defendant pinned to the ground, Artinger pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim four times in the stomach, back, and leg.
Artinger attempted to escape by running into a nearby Petco store. The defendant ran into a back room of the store. Startled Petco staff called 9-1-1. Artinger was arrested by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Chavers was able to walk into a veterinary clinic in the same strip mall to call an ambulance. He was treated at UCI Medical Center.
Deputy District Attorney Andre Manssourian of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.