Man gets virtual life-without-parole sentence in 2008 Granada Hills Catholic School festival shooting
A North Hollywood man was effectively sentenced to life without the possibility of parole Monday in connection with a shooting that wounded his ex-girlfriend and two others at a parish school festival.
Fernando Diaz, 36, received the maximum sentence possible from San Fernando Superior Court Judge Shari Silver in the May 17, 2008, shooting at St. John Baptist de la Salle Catholic Church in Granada Hills. Under the court's sentence, Diaz will not be eligible for parole until he turns 98.
Diaz was convicted March 24 of two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm, in addition to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Diaz and his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, were embroiled in a bitter custody dispute when he showed up at the carnival with a .22-caliber rifle, made to look like an M-16 assault rifle, hidden inside a tennis bag.
The ex-girlfriend and young son were setting up a carnival booth at the child's school when Diaz showed up. After hugging his child, he set down the tennis bag, took out the weapon and aimed it at his ex-girlfriend, firing multiple rounds and setting off a panic on the school field.
Diaz's ex-girlfriend was hit in the elbow. A man was shot in the chest and another man was wounded in the leg.
Five parents, including an off-duty Burbank police officer, disarmed Diaz. Police later found 20 bullets in the discarded tennis bag.
Diaz was on parole at the time and subject to a restraining order to prevent him from being near the school or his son and ex-girlfriend.
-- Andrew Blankstein