The murder of an OC doctor who rode a bicycle stuns the community

The driver accused of hitting an Orange County doctor who was riding a bicycle and repeatedly stabbing him was charged with murder on Friday in a crime that stunned the community and left many questions unanswered.

Vanroy Evan Smith, 39, of Long Beach, was charged with one count of murder and personal use of a deadly weapon, which could bolster his conviction, Orange County Superior Court records show. . Smith, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held on $1 million bond.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. Smith, who is listed as unemployed in prison records, is due in court Feb. 16 for a preliminary hearing.

Dr. Michael John Mammone, 58, was cycling near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Crown Valley Parkway in Dana Point around 3 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck from behind by the driver of a Lexus white, Orange County Sheriff’s officials said. .

The driver of the vehicle, later identified by authorities as Smith, got out of the car and stabbed Mammone repeatedly with a knife, sheriff’s officials said.

Dr. Michael John Mammone was an emergency physician in Orange County.

(Providence Mission Hospital)

First responders arrived to find Mammone with serious injuries, authorities said. He was taken to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where he died. Mammone sometimes worked at the hospital.

Bystanders who rushed to help Mammone managed to pin Smith to the ground, according to deputies. Smith was taken into custody and a knife was recovered from the scene.

There is no known connection between the two men, officials said, and investigators are still trying to determine what prompted the assault.

“An innocent man died 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 apparently never met,” said Orange County Dist. Atti. Todd Spitzer said in a press release. “Killing a total stranger in broad daylight for what seems like absolutely no reason is a nightmare.”

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

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

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

Friends and family in Laguna Beach were devastated by his death, a spokesperson 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 had been affiliated with Providence since November 2011 and was among many medical professionals who worked 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 in the medical field with Dr. Mammone” while they were at San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland.

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

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

Mammone received her 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 her family before moving about a year ago, her former neighbors said they were devastated to hear the news of her death.

Mammone was always present at block parties and often invited neighbors to dinner. They described him as a “friendly and sweet” person who was always prompt with a smile and greetings.

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

“He was a great guy,” a neighbor who declined to give her name told The Times. “We’re just crushed.”

Roger Borelli, who lives two doors down from Mammone’s home in South Laguna, was trying — and failing — to figure out what could have prompted someone to attack the doctor.

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

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

On several occasions over the few years that Mammone and her family lived in the neighborhood, her little dog would run away from home and rush 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 lamp post on the Pacific Coast Highway near the intersection where the incident occurred.

Los Angeles Times

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