By FRED SHUSTER
LOS ANGELES — A felon from the Inland Empire who fired BB guns at the Planned Parenthood facility in Pasadena nearly a dozen times was sentenced Monday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for interfering with women seeking abortions.
Richard Chamberlin, 53, of Ontario, was also ordered to pay $42,663 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald described Chamberlin’s string of BB gun attacks as a “reign of terror” and that Chamberlin had acted “in a calculated and cruel way” against Planned Parenthood, its staff, and patients.
Chamberlin admitted to carrying a loaded .22-caliber handgun during one of the attacks and also pleaded guilty last year to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In his plea agreement, Chamberlin acknowledged driving past the clinic and firing his BB gun on at least 11 occasions between June 2020 and May 2021. He admitted that he intentionally conducted the attacks to intimidate and interfere with the clinic, its doctors, staff and patients specifically because the clinic was providing reproductive health services, including services related to the termination of pregnancies.
No one was injured in any of the shootings.
Beginning on June 27, 2020, Chamberlin’s attacks involved him firing BB pellets from his car. The attacks caused physical damage to the clinic, including shattered windows, and also served to unnerve clinic staff, Chamberlin admitted in his plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court.
“These victims have all been deeply impacted by (Chamberlin’s) conduct,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “The clinic’s employees still experience daily anxiety and fear, and they have an overwhelming sense of being unsafe in their work environment.”
On March 29, 2021, a clinic employee heard an object hit her office window, which caused her to fear for her safety and interfered with the performance of her job duties, prosecutors said. The next day, at 8:30 a.m. while the clinic was open and receiving patients, the defendant again drove by and fired his BB gun at the front entrance. During this attack, a patient’s companion was seated on the front porch and was nearly hit when the BB gun pellets peppered the banners directly in front of where she was seated.
On May 7, 2021, the Pasadena Police Department stopped Chamberlin while he was driving away from the clinic following another BB gun attack. At this time, Chamberlin possessed eight BB guns, including BB guns designed to look like assault rifles. On the front passenger seat of his vehicle, police found a backpack containing a .22-caliber pistol, which was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition.
In his plea agreement, Chamberlin admitted that he possessed the firearm and ammunition after being previously convicted in Arizona in 2012 of a felony offense of attempted transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.
Following his arrest, Chamberlin attempted to dispose of his remaining firearms by selling four firearms to a local consignment store and transferring ownership of eight additional firearms to a neighbor. During a subsequent search of his home, authorities recovered thousands of rounds of ammunition, gun powder, a dozen additional BB guns, a black cylinder resembling a suppressor, a Polymer 80 gun-making kit, various gun parts and multiple documents identifying and referring to Planned Parenthood, court papers show.
Chamberlin pleaded guilty in December to one count of violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
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