By Keith Burbank | Bay City News Service
A North Carolina man could spend life in prison for the shooting of two La Honda men outside their home on March 12, San Mateo County Deputy District attorney Karen Guidotti said after the man was arraigned March 17 on charges of attempted murder.
Bernard James Hafler, 36, of Grandy, North Carolina, was arraigned in a Redwood City courtroom before Judge Jeffrey Finigan and told of the charges against him, which include attempted murder, residential burglary and auto theft. A private defender was appointed to represent him.
Mr. Hafler allegedly shot two La Honda residents at about 7 a.m. Saturday, March 12, in the area of Mindego Hill and Alpine roads, for what appears to be no reason at all, prosecutors said.
Mr. Hafler emerged from a 75-year-old man's home while the man was sitting on his deck, pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and without saying anything shot the victim in the face. When the victim fell to the ground, Mr. Hafler shot the man in the head, according to prosecutors.
Mr. Hafler then walked to a cottage behind the first victim's home and fired several shots, one of which hit a 53-year-old man in the face.
Mr. Hafler then allegedly stole the first victim's car, a 2006 Jaguar station wagon, and drove away, prosecutors said. The car was found abandoned on March 14 at the Daly City BART station, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Both victims have so far survived their life-threatening injuries.
As Pacifica police tried to apprehend Mr. Hafler on March 16, he shot at an officer as the two struggled on a highway embankment, sheriff's officials said.
Mr. Hafler was walking on state Highway 1 south of Manor Drive when officers saw him. As the officer and Mr. Hafler struggled on the embankment, Mr. Hafler was allegedly able to get off one shot at the officer. The bullet missed, according to sheriff's officials.
Ms. Guidotti said prosecutors will be filing an amended complaint that adds charges related to shooting at the officer.
The officer was able to disarm Mr. Hafler and take him into custody. Both were treated at a hospital for minor injuries, sheriff's officials said.
Mr. Hafler is in custody in the county jail without bail, Ms. Guidotti said. Prosecutors said they believe Mr. Hafler may have mental health issues.