Driver charged with murder in killing of doctor on bike ride

The rider, who is accused of hitting an Orange County doctor who was riding his bike and then repeatedly stabbing him, was charged with murder Friday, in a crime that stunned the community and left many unanswered questions .

Vanroy Evan Smith, 39, of Long Beach, was charged with murder and personal use of a deadly weapon, which could improve his conviction, according to Orange County Superior Court records. Smith, who pleaded not guilty, will be released on bail from $1 million detained.

If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. Smith, who is listed as unemployed in prison records, is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on February 16.

dr Michael John Mammone, 58, was riding his bicycle near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Crown Valley Parkway in Dana Point around 3 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit from behind by the driver of a white Lexus, sheriff’s officers said Orange County.

The driver of the vehicle, who was later identified by authorities as Smith, got out of the car and stabbed Mammone multiple times with a knife, sheriff’s officers said.

A head and shoulders portrait of a dark haired male in a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera.

dr Michael John Mammone was an ER doctor in Orange County.

(Providence Mission Hospital)

First responders arrived and found Mammone seriously injured, authorities said. He was taken to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where he died. Mammone sometimes worked in the hospital.

According to deputies, bystanders who rushed to Mammone’s aid managed to pin Smith to the ground. Smith was taken into custody and a knife was recovered from the scene.

There is no known link between the two men, officials said, and investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked the attack.

“An innocent man is dead because he was riding his bike to enjoy a beautiful California day along the beach and was hit by a car and stabbed to death by someone he appears never to have met,” Orange County Dist said . atty said Todd Spitzer in a press release. “The murder of a complete stranger in broad daylight for seemingly absolutely no reason is the stuff of nightmares.”

Mammone worked as an emergency room physician for Providence Mission Hospital, said Erin Prunell, a spokeswoman for the health group.

He practiced primarily outside of the Laguna Beach hospital facility, occasionally working at the Mission Viejo site where he died and at the Children’s Health of Orange County Health Center in Mission Viejo.

“The entire family at Mission Hospital mourns the loss of an incredible doctor and friend,” hospital officials said in a statement. “We will Dr. Recognize Mammone’s commitment to our community and passion for medicine.”

Friends and family in Laguna Beach were devastated by his death, a spokesman for Providence Mission Hospital said Thursday. Friends said Mammone had a warm personality and “was the kind of person you wanted to be your doctor.”

Mammone has been associated with Providence since November 2011 and was among numerous medical professionals working heroically during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesperson.

Mammone’s family declined to comment.

Yvette Cook posted on social media that she had the “privilege of working with Dr. Mammone to work in the medical field” while they were at San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland.

Cook wrote that Mammone was a “caring” and “excellent doctor”.

“He even helped one of my family members in an emergency situation,” she added. “May he [rest in peace] and my deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Michael Mammone.”

Mammone received his medical degree from USC’s Keck School of Medicine in 1993, according to state records.

In the Arch Beach Heights neighborhood of Laguna Beach, where Mammone lived with his family before he moved about a year ago, his former neighbors said they were devastated to hear the news of his death.

Mammone was always present at neighborhood parties and often invited neighbors over for dinner. They described him as a “kind and gentle” person who was always quick with a smile and greeting.

Mammone, who has two sons, also loved mountain biking, they said.

“He was a great guy,” said a neighbor who declined to give the Times her name. “We’re just devastated.”

Roger Borelli, who lives two doors down from Mammone’s South Laguna home, tried – and failed – to figure out what might have prompted someone to attack the doctor.

“It’s just so sad that this happened,” he said. “I have no idea what the motive might have been.”

Borelli said Mammone and his wife often go for walks together in the neighborhood. But most of his interactions with Mammone centered around the doctor’s dog, Harry.

In the few years that Mammone and his family lived in the neighborhood, his small dog escaped from his home several times and ran into Borelli’s house.

“I think we were just the first open door Harry saw. [Mammone would] Come here and take him home,” he said. “He was a nice guy.”

On Friday, several bouquets of flowers hung from a light pole on the Pacific Coast Highway near the intersection where the incident occurred. Driver charged with murder in killing of doctor on bike ride

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