La Habra

Man Gets Prison Time for Wielding Ax at La Habra Police

A man who threatened La Habra police officers with an ax that was inscribed with an insult to "pigs" on it was sentenced Friday to 14 years and four months in prison.

Dan James Schuneman, 50, was convicted in February 2018 of four counts of assault with a weapon on a peace officer and three counts of resisting arrest, all felonies.

Schuneman dialed 911 about 8:30 a.m. July 4, 2017, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos.

"In his 911 call, he clearly demonstrated a dislike and hatred for the police," the prosecutor said after Schuneman's conviction.

Schuneman testified during his trial that police officers are his "friends" and "heroes." He blamed fumes from paint thinner for his behavior when police came calling at his RV, which was parked in the 1200 block of Imperial Highway, Chrisopoulos said.

"According to his testimony, he didn't even remember calling 911," the prosecutor said.

"He surmised he spilled some paint thinner the night before and the fumes, in his words, made him go cuckoo."

Despite Schuneman's assurances to jurors of his affinity for law enforcement, Chrisopoulos confronted the defendant about what was scrawled on the 3 1/2-foot ax he brandished at officers.

"He had inscribed with a Sharpie, 'Pigs, the ones who plant evidence and partner with prostitutes,"' Chrisopoulos said.

Schuneman had prior convictions for assault with a firearm and making criminal threats.

The defendant testified that at the time he called police, "he was having marital problems and living out of his RV.

"On the day of his arrest, he told a police dispatcher in profane terms that police are "the biggest gang around," Chrisopoulos said.

When police arrived at the defendant's door to check on him, he refused to drop the ax, so they attempted to subdue him with a Taser, the prosecutor said.

When that didn't work, they opened fire with a non-lethal "sponge gun," but that didn't stop him either, he said.

Finally, Schuneman was shot once in the hip area, Chrisopoulos said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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