CBS Television City Gunman Pleads No Contest in L.A. Court

AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A paralyzed man was rolled into court on a gurney and pleaded no contest Wednesday to false imprisonment for storming into the CBS Television City complex with a gun and holding off police until he wounded himself.

The siege on May 28, which forced evacuation of the landmark studios, ended after four hours when Raymond Derouen Jr., 37, accidentally shot himself in the abdomen while trying to unload his gun.

Derouen, of unincorporated Del Aire, is paralyzed from the waist down and his spinal injuries were a factor in his plea agreement, said Derouen’s lawyer, Etan A. Lorant.

Lorant said the plea would allow Derouen to be moved from the county jail to a hospital facility where he could get help. Derouen spent seven years in the Navy and could be held at a veterans hospital, Lorant said.

Derouen lay strapped to the gurney as he entered his plea before Superior Court Judge Jacob Adajian, who ordered a 90-day study for evaluation of the prisoner.

The maximum possible sentence agreed to was four years, four months in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 20.

Deputy District Attorney Kamaria Henry said both sides agreed to dismissal of charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon while allowing the charge of false imprisonment to stand. Derouen also pleaded no contest to one count of using a firearm.

A no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea under law, she told Derouen.

Derouen smiled at his mother, Elizabeth, who was in the courtroom. She had rushed to CBS and tried to talk her son out of doing anything violent. She said outside court that her son had been having emotional problems after he left the Navy and couldn’t find a job. She said he had never been in trouble with the law and was attending college with ambitions to become a marine biologist.

“I think it was a mental problem,” said the mother, who was in tears. “Now he’s a prisoner in his own body.”

The incident at the studio complex interrupted taping of the daytime soaps “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” About 800 people, including actors, were evacuated.

CBS Television City is the entertainment industry’s oldest studio built specifically for television. Its 50th anniversary was celebrated by the network in April.

Many popular CBS shows, including “All in the Family,” “The Smothers Brothers,” “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” and “Hollywood Squares,” have originated there.