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Ripon police want shooter to pay for upgrades

RIPON -- The windows lining the new police station here are made of bulletproof glass. Inside, visitors use telephones to reach staff protected by more Plexiglas.

The upgrades were prompted by 37-year-old Jason Walraven. He ended an alcohol-fueled shooting spree two years ago by firing shots through the glass entrance to the old police station and City Hall. Now, police want Walraven to pay for the bulletproof glass.

In a Dec. 7 letter to the San Joaquin County district attorney's office, the department requested that Walraven be forced to pay $98,000 for a bullet-proof door and the windows. Original repairs were documented at several thousand dollars.

In addition, Ripon wants him to pay $17,000 for the cost of the police response and investigation, according to an itemized list included in court documents.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Terrence Van Oss is set to rule on the sum Jan. 28.

The city's requests are questioned by law professionals, who say restitution is meant to reimburse victims for losses, not upgrades.

"You are supposed to be reimbursing an out-of-pocket loss," said Professor David I. Levine, who teaches courses on remedies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. "They can't demand he do improvements. That's pretty clear.

"This would be like if one of us had a high-mileage Honda and got into an accident and I say, 'My Honda with 100,000 miles on it turned out to not be very safe, so why not buy me a brand new Volvo for $48,000.' You're not going to get that.

"It might be safer to have bulletproof glass, but that is not (Walraven's) problem. It might be prudent police practice to bring the building up to the bulletproof standard, but it's not his responsibility to do those upgrades."

Police disagree.

"We think he should be responsible for it," said Ripon police Lt. Ed Ormonde. "Even though there is always that aspect of uncertainty that something can happen at any time, once someone takes assault on a building where we have employees working, we have to take certain precautions to make sure they are in good mental health, that they feel safe while they are working and that they aren't worried about this type of activ- ity happening again."

The court file contains eight letters from Police Department personnel and one other city employee describing the lasting emotional trauma of the shooting.

Five dispatchers and a city receptionist were in the Police Department after 1 a.m. Dec. 2, 2006, when Walraven fired three bullets through the glass. Dispatchers called for help and ran for cover. No one was injured.

Walraven was arrested outside armed with a .45-caliber semi- automatic handgun and a 12-gauge pump action shotgun.

The arrest ended a violent course of events that began at Walraven's home on Rose Court, east of Highway 99. His wife ran from the house with their 8-year-old daughter after he began firing. Police say he ultimately fired more than two dozen shots into his house and lawn.

Walraven told police via phone that he was armed and initially kept them at bay. Shortly after the Manteca-Ripon Special Weapons and Tactics team arrived, he climbed into his Hyundai with the lights off and drove quickly northwest, toward the Milgeo Road overpass. He crashed into a roundabout on Wilma Avenue, west of the freeway, and ran about a block to the police station.

After shooting at the building, Walraven dropped his weapons. Police used a Taser to subdue him before he was arrested.

After nearly nine months in jail, Walraven pleaded guilty in August. Van Oss chided the recklessness of the shooting, but sentenced him to a year in jail and allowed him to be released on probation with time served. The judge cited Walraven's apologies and history as a family man in granting him a second chance. Prosecutors and police criticized the sentence as too lenient.

Since the shooting, Walraven's Ripon house has been foreclosed upon; the family now rents a home in Manteca. Neither he nor his wife is employed, and Walraven is off work on the order of his psychiatrist.

It is unclear how the family would pay the nearly $120,000 the city seeks. The total includes initial repairs to the window and the roundabout where Walraven crashed.

Walraven used to be a senior computer security technician at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, but doubts he can get a computer security job with a felony conviction. He opposes the request for the bulletproof windows and for police time but said he is not fighting bills for replacing the original glass and roundabout.

Reached at his Manteca home this week, Walraven sounded reflective and described a health- ier lifestyle.

"I did a little training in financial investments, but I'm thinking about construction or cooking," he said. "Something lower-key, out of my field. I am not concerned as much about how much I'm getting paid as keeping my sanity from here on forward."

He said depression fueled by the drive to pay for a consumer lifestyle led to the shooting, which he described as a suicide attempt.

"You acquire so much that sometimes it takes a great trag- edy to show you the possessions are not the important things," Walraven said. "Family is. I was so concerned about owning things -- owning a house, buying a car. All I was doing was depressing me more."

Mayor Curt Pernice said the City Council's decision to install bulletproof glass was made independent of who will ultimately pay for it.

"It was something we felt needed to be done," he said. "You never think about being shot up, but when shot up, sometimes have to take precautionary measures."

Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at imiller@modbee.com or 578-2324.

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