Man Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound At Universal Studios Theme Park

UNIVERSAL CITY (CNS/FOX 11) - The Coroner's Office identified a man who shot and killed himself at the Universal Studios theme park, near a restaurant where a former girlfriend works as a waitress.

Andrew Thomas Jones, 38, of Fullerton, was publicly identified Saturday as the man by Coroner's Investigator Kristy McCracken.

A woman called park security officers about 2 p.m. Friday after seeing Jones near Mel's Diner, where she works, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau.

Jones was the subject of restraining orders prohibiting him from contacting the woman, Hernandez said.

The security officers contacted the sheriff's department and deputies responded, talked with the woman then began looking for Jones, Hernandez told City News Service.

A deputy found Jones in a secluded designated smoking area but when she asked him to stand up he turned away and pulled a gun from his rear waistband or back pocket, put the weapon to his face and fired a single fatal shot, Hernandez said.

County firefighters were summoned at 2:24 p.m. Friday to assist the sheriff's department on a medical call and were on scene in five minutes. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deputy had tried to talk the man out of hurting himself, Hernandez said.

Jones, who has a child with his ex-girlfriend, had two restraining orders issued against him after a pair of incidents at the theme park, one in a parking lot where he allegedly vandalized the woman's car and another, about a week ago, inside the park, Hernandez said.

In a statement, a park spokeswoman said the park remained open.

"We are working closely with law enforcement and corporate security on this ongoing investigation,'' the statement says. "The safety and security of our guests is always of the utmost importance.''

The park does not routinely put entering guests through metal detectors, but does check bags, Hernandez said.


From Hal Eisner:

Aaron Pritchard will never forget his trip to Universal Studios Hollywood. He was one of four people who saw a man commit suicide as a deputy tried to stop him from pulling the trigger. Pritchard says it was awful.

Homicide detectives say what happened here was the final chapter in a bad relationship between two people. The violence happened at a time the park was packed with people on Spring Break.

The dispute was between a woman who worked at a restaurant in the theme park and a man she had a relationship and a child with, but had to have a restraining order placed against to protect herself. Early in the afternoon authorities say she called security when she spotted him in the park. This is the second time in three weeks that had happened according to Lt. Eddie Hernandez who says deputies moved in.

When a deputy approached, he pulled a gun from the the area around his back and put it to his mouth. He killed himself, says Hernandez.

Right now, there are others questioning how anyone got a gun in the park with security checks at the front gates. We have more on that in our video report above.

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