CRESTLINE – A former Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested on murder charges in the San Bernardino mountain community after shots were fired on Monday night.
Steven Michael Baumgartner, 53, was arrested on the shooting which, say authorities, came after an argument broke out with the victim, Michael Paul Clark, 38, of Crestline.
Clark was pronounced dead at St. Bernadine Medical Center in San Bernardino after being transported by helicopter. The shooting, which occurred in the 23900 block of Wildwood Ln., about five blocks from Lake Gregory.
Baumgartner, who is a former deputy in the neighboring county, and Clark were next door neighbors. There are reports that the two men were often yelling at one another. Sgt. Chris Fisher said, “Investigators learned that the shooting stemmed from a verbal dispute between the two neighbors.”
Three nights earlier, on Friday, June 27, shortly after 10 p.m., deputies were summoned to the same residence to a previous report of a dispute between the two men. Investigators did not divulge the argument that led to the shooting.
Capt. Rick Ells said that multiple calls summoned deputies to the neighborhood after Baumgartner reportedly went into his residence and returned with a .357 Magnum and allegedly shot Clark in the face one time.
Clark, said reports, fell on his back.
When gunfire broke out shortly after 5 p.m., deputies from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station responded to discover that Clark had been shot, according to a press release. Baumgartner, who was arrested and booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, is being held without bail, said authorities.
According to reports, Baumgartner was a sworn deputy who covered court services in the Riverside County city of Indio from 1990 through 1998.