Indian American Man Found Guilty of Murder in Doorbell-Ringing Prank Case
- Anurag Chandra of California killed three teenage boys by intentionally ramming his car into their’s while intoxicated.
Anurag Chandra of California, who was accused of killing three teenage boys by intentionally ramming his car into their’s after they played a doorbell-ringing prank on him, has been found guilty of murder. The 45-year-old Indian American man was convicted on April 28 in a Riverside County courtroom of “three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder,” the Associated Press reported. “The murder of these young men was a horrendous and senseless tragedy for our community,” county District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a statement.
“I thank the jury for their verdict. This is an important step toward justice,” Chandra chased down the car occupied by six teenagers, causing the vehicle to crash and kill half of the boys. He went in pursuit of the teens after they pulled a prank at his home on Modjeska Summit Road. At the trial, Chandra, who didn’t know the teens, said one of the boys rang his doorbell and exposed his buttocks before running away, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. He said he followed them because he feared for his family’s safety and wanted to express his anger. Chandra already was facing criminal charges in connection with alleged domestic violence in 2020 when the killings occurred.
He also told the court that he drank 12 beers in the hours before the crash, the newspaper reported. He said he did not plan to crash into the Prius and testified that he did not stop after rear-ending the sedan. Although he admitted that he had been driving 99 mph before the collision, he said he said he didn’t stop because he did not realize anyone had been injured, the paper said. The Prius’ driver lost control and the sedan slammed into a tree in Temescal Valley, about 60 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
The crash killed Daniel Hawkins of Corona; Drake Ruiz of Corona; and Jacob Ivascu of Riverside. The other three boys – Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu, then 13; and the driver Sergio Campusano, 18 at the time, were injured, but survived. They were taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment according to media reports.
According to California Highway Patrol investigators and prosecutors, as reported by The Press Enterprise, the boys were having a Sunday night sleepover at one of their homes and decided to try a “ding dong ditch” prank in the neighborhood, which is just south of Corona. Shortly after 10 p.m., five of them piled into a Toyota Prius parked on Modjeska Summit, while another went to Chandra’s residence and rang the bell several times, investigators said. The youth then ran to the Prius, which raced away from the location.