By Sara Hall | NB Indy
An attempted murder suspect was arrested Oct. 22 while hiding on a hillside on Lighthouse Lane, just one day after fleeing the scene of a domestic violence call and causing four local schools to go into lockdown.
Mark J. Ward, 47, of Las Vegas, was arrested in the 2600 block of Lighthouse after Newport Beach police received a call that a suspicious man was hiding behind a barbecue grill in the backyard of a residence.
Ward was being sought after he fled the scene of a domestic violence call in the 2600 block of San Joaquin Hills Road at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21.
Ward knocked his estranged wife to the ground and attempted to choke her, said Newport Beach police Sgt. Steve Burdette. Neighbors heard her scream and entered through the unlocked front door to find Ward on top of her, choking her, Burdette said. When the neighbors yelled for him to stop and began to call police Ward fled through the back door, Burdette said.
It is unknown whether he was invited in or pushed his way into his estranged wife’s residence, Burdette said.
“My understanding is he was allowed in and it somehow escalated,” Burdette said.
There may have been an argument, he added.
Police notified local schools immediately upon arrival at the scene, because the suspect had fled and was at large in the area, and police did not know the severity or details regarding the crime. School officials decided to go into a lockdown as a precautionary measure, according to a police statement.
The woman was treated at Hoag Hospital and released. Based on her statement and the witness accounts, police classified it as an attempted murder, Burdette said.
At 9:44 a.m. the next day, the police received the call about a suspicious male subject on Lighthouse. A cleaning crew had entered the house and spotted the man in the backyard, Burdette said. Upon arrival, an officer found Ward hiding on a nearby hillside under a blanket. He was arrested without incident.
Ward is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
The investigation is continuing and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Newport Beach Police Department at (800) 550-NBPD. Messages can be left anonymously.