Tragedy has struck Laguna Beach, California, with the death of beloved ER physician Dr. Michael Mammone. On Wednesday, 39-year-old Vanroy Evan Smith appeared in court to face charges of murder.
The incident occurred when Dr. Mammone was cycling along the Pacific Coast Highway in California when he was run over by a white Lexus that had sped through a red light at an intersection. Witnesses reported seeing Smith, a trained accountant, holding a BB gun while screaming racial slurs.
Shocking video of the incident shows the Lexus careening into the doctor, throwing him and his bike up into the air. Smith can then be seen walking over to Dr. Mammone and attacking him again before witnesses drag him away.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said investigators were unaware of the slurs and added that there was “no known relationship or motive” for the killing.
Dr. Mammone had worked as an ER physician at Providence Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach since 2011, and he occasionally worked out of Mission Viejo and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Santa Ana.
His wife Julie, a nurse in the same hospital, and two sons, Nick and Jon, are all grieving the loss of this incredible physician and friend.
Smith, a father of two, is currently in custody at the Intake Release Centre in Orange County. He was also charged with the personal use of a deadly weapon and will appear in court on February 14.
The hospital released a statement expressing their shock and sadness at the tragedy. “We will honor Dr. Mammone’s dedication to our community and passion for medicine by continuing to provide exceptional care,” the statement read.
Cardiologist Doctor Dawn Aatwal said of Dr. Mammone, “If a patient was brought in his condition, he would have done everything he could to save that person. He has saved so many lives here, and he died very close to where he saved hundreds of lives.”
The incident has left a community of family, friends, and colleagues mourning the loss of a kind and compassionate physician who dedicated his life to helping others.