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Alleged Assault on Sequoia Tourists That Led to Shooting of CHP Officer Brings Federal Charges



A man accused of an threatening a family visiting Sequoia National Park earlier this year has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Fresno. (Shutterstock)
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A man accused of an threatening a family visiting Sequoia National Park earlier this year has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Fresno.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release that Marvin Joseph Chang, 33, will face charges of assault, brandishing a weapon and being a felon in possession of ammunition.

The case stems from a violent incident on February 19 that began in the park and ended in a Tulare County orchard following a high speed chase involving officers from half a dozen law enforcement agencies.

Began with Altercation in Sequoia National Park

That morning, Sequoia park staff received a report of a man brandishing a knife at a family following an argument in the Giant Forest area of the park. Chang is alleged to have pulled out a pistol and slashed a tire on the visiting family’s vehicle before fleeing in his own car.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the suspect fired on law enforcement personnel as they attempted to stop Chang, according to news reports at the time.

Chang, from Monterey Park, reportedly lost control of his car on a rural road and fled on foot into an orchard. During the effort to apprehend Chang, a veteran officer from the California Highway Patrol was shot in the shoulder after what was described by Boudreaux as a “very significant physical battle.” Chang was also hospitalized in critical condition with gunshot wounds from responding officers, the reports said.

He was charged in February by the Tulare County District Attorney with eight counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, flighting and evading a peace officer, throwing a substance at a vehicle, shooting a firearm, criminal threats, and being a felon in possession of body armor, a firearm and ammunition, the Visalia Times Delta reported. 

He remains in custody in Tulare County, the release said.

Prior Felony Conviction for Assault

According to prosecutors, Chang has a prior felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon involving great bodily injury. Because of his past felony, he is prohibited from possessing weapons or ammunition, officials said.

If convicted, Chang faces 10 years in prison on the assault and possession charges and a minimum of seven years on the charge of brandishing a firearm. Each charge also carries a fine of up to $250,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

This investigation involved the National Park Service; Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the California Highway Patrol; the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office; and the Visalia Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

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