Man could spend life in prison for La Honda shootings


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.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by Sabrina
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:02 am

Update on the condition of the two shooting victims in recent La Honda shootings?

Like this comment
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Robert D. is a registered user.

Before you (edit) my comments, please respect the first amendment. Notice, the general media did not pick this up. He was not of opposite race and neither was the cop. The cop did not kill him. Shame on the media (Almanac excluded) for not writing a success story. He may or may not be mentally sane, but either way he will be out of public life for (hopefully) the majority of not all of his life.

6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Is a mug shot of the perp available? What was he doing in California? Why was this homeowner targeted? Seems like a very odd place to find a random victim.

Like this comment
Posted by Maryann
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

B.J. is the sweetest and most courteous young man. This man is NOT the
B.J. that I know - his mind had to have snapped as he would never do anything
this horrible if he had his right mind. I am praying for him and also the victims as well as his family. It breaks my heart to even think about this
tragedy and have cried a bucket of tears over this. Only GOD knows what really happened to him.

6 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2016 at 2:54 am

> Both victims have so far survived their life-threatening injuries.

Two shots to the head ... when you say survived, what does that mean?
Alive with what kind of quality of life, what kind of permanent injuries
and disfigurement.

What a horrible story, a life sentence sounds appropriate to me.

Like this comment
Posted by Shocked Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2016 at 6:38 am

What was this guy doing up here in the mountains? I heard that his car broke down and he needed another car and just killed for it. Seriously folks, is a car worth all of that? Why didn't he just hot-wire the car? It seems like that is not it... like there is something else... That story doesn't fit so well. Maybe it is not correct. Why the shot pattern? Was this guy here visiting some criminal friends in the prison up here? Why isn't the press doing a better job? It feels like there is another part to this story. Yeah, and he reportedly used a 45. Has anyone reading this ever shot a 45? Where did this guy learn to shoot? Is he X-military? Read the history on the invention of the 45. Then read this story again.

Like this comment
Posted by I agree...
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Apr 13, 2016 at 6:54 am

I agree with the last comment. If he had two .45-caliber pistols, who are they registered to? Why doesn't the press ask that question? I will tell you why, the press is lazy.

Like this comment
Posted by Try to find
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 13, 2016 at 7:19 am

Try to find anyone named Hafler in Grandy, North Carolina using the white pages online. There are none listed. Holfler yes, but Hafler not really. No family at all by that name.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 7,045 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,360 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,276 views

Good News: The New Menlo Park Rail Subcommittee Hits A Home Run
By Dana Hendrickson | 12 comments | 1,553 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 783 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More