- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
The San Gabriel Valley man who drove a pick-up truck through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Pasadena last year is now reportedly facing nearly three years in federal prison on a slate of conspiracy and illegal weapons charges. The plea deal reportedly means Hung avoids a total potential sentence of 105 years in prison and more than $2 million in fines. He was charged with 11 felonies, which included conspiracy, transporting and receiving firearms across state lines, making false statements during gun purchases, and possessing unregistered firearms.
In a plea agreement, Benjamin Jong Ren Hung reportedly admitted to working with a co-conspirator to lie to gun dealers in Oregon to obtain weapons illegal in California and transport them across state lines, buying five handguns. Last year, he lied to the Oregon dealers again, saying he lived in Washington when he bought four rifles and a shotgun. Over seven years, Hung built an arsenal of 14 guns illegal in California.
In addition to the rifles and the shotgun, the FBI reportedly seized three unregistered short-barreled semi automatic rifles from his home after he was arrested on May 31, 2020. Police also took a semi-automatic Glock 26 handgun Hung was armed with on the day of the protest in Old Pasadena.
That day, Hung’s customized Dodge pick-up truck, which had a raised suspension, sported a license plate reading “WAR R1G,” and displayed flags related to right-wing extremist groups, was seen barreling toward about 100 protesters gathered on Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue. The protestors were demonstrating against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Hung sped through the intersection, nearly clipping some of the people there. Some witnesses reportedly said Hung was heard yelling through a megaphone just before he charged at the group.
Fortunately, no one was injured. And though Pasadena police arrested him almost immediately on attempted vehicular assault charges, prosecutors later dropped those charges. Inside Hung’s truck, police reportedly found the megaphone, the loaded Glock, a machete, thousands of dollars in cash, and a long metal pipe, according to an affidavit filed in Sep. 2020. Moreover, prosecutors said Hung never took the Glock out during the incident, but kept it inside a closed fanny pack beneath the middle seat.
Per the plea agreement, the incident reportedly unfolded when Hung stood behind a line of cars approaching the intersection. As other cars turned around, Hung continued, and accelerated as he approached. He stopped short of the intersection, then a protester threw an object at the truck. Then, a woman riding with Hung inside told him to “horn ’em,” referring to the train horn. Hung sounded the train horn, then sped through the crowd, making a left turn, while the exhaust fumes blew.
Prosecutors alleged Hung scouted the area days before the protest was held. They said he later bragged to friends about his attempt to attack the protesters. After the incident, several witnesses said on social media they saw Hung’s truck in the days before. A passenger inside asked some about where they could find Pasadena protests.
Also, prosecutors accused Hung of using his family’s vineyard in Lodi, a city located in San Joaquin County, as a training camp to prepare for “civil disorders.” According to the DOJ, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Los Angeles was involved in the investigation into Hung. The DOJ’s Terrorism and Export Crimes Section assisted in his prosecution.
Hung’s sentencing date has not been scheduled yet.
As previously mentioned, Huang fortunately didn’t injure nor kill any of the pedestrian protestors that day, but he could’ve. In the U.S, a pedestrian dies in a traffic accident every 90 minutes. In Los Angeles, pedestrians are involved in 8% of traffic collisions, yet account for nearly 45% of all traffic deaths annually.
Due to the negligent nature of many pedestrian accidents, like this particular case could’ve been, a potential victim may also be entitled to punitive damages if the victim can prove that the other party deliberately tried to cause them harm. Punitive damages are only awarded at the court’s discretion and are meant to punish a wrongdoer for his or her deliberate acts of malice.