Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Jeffery Lee Chung, 23, of Irvine was shot and killed by a robber, in a parking structure nearby a bar called Proof, in downtown Santa Ana, this morning at about 1:30 am, according to ABC News.  Chung’s friend ran off.  Chung was shot when he resisted the robbers, who got away.

While ABC News is calling this a setback for Santa Ana, I am calling it a random act of violence.

Murder happens.  In fact, an 81-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder for allegedly beating to death his 94-year-old roommate at a Laguna Hills nursing home, authorities said Saturday, according to the L.A. Times.  This happened at 11:20 pm on Friday.

I am still going to tonight’s Santa Ana Artist Village Art Walk with my wife and daughter.  And we are going to the Dia de los Muertos exhibit at Calacas too.

But a word to the wise.  If someone tries to rob you, give them what they want.  Losing your life over a wallet just isn’t over it.

Our sympathies to the Chung family.  I truly hope this tragedy won’t dissuade our friends from Irvine from visiting our exciting and fun downtown.

Did you know that in Irvine, violent crime rose 19 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to the O.C. Register?

My wife and I visited our downtown tonight.  Click here to read about our evening at the Art Walk.  Pictures are below.  We had a lot of fun and were quite safe.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

35 thoughts on “Shooting near Proof bar doesn’t mean downtown Santa Ana isn’t safe”
  1. Take a look at this map of orange county crime: map – I don’t see anything “random” about the huge cluster hovering over Santa Ana

  2. Someone’s son was shot and killed. Someone’s baby is not coming home again — ever. Yet you are worried about folks maybe not “visiting our exciting and fun downtown.” IMO this sentiment is rather heartless and callous.

    1. Sylvia,

      Clearly you failed to read my entire post, as I did express my condolence to the Chung family.

      The fact is however that our city and our business community have invested millions in our downtown area. We cannot allow rumer-mongering and panic to hurt this area. This will only serve to kill jobs and hurt our city’s tax coffers.

      I visited Libreria Martinez last night. Have you been there? They have Orange County’s largest selection of Latino books. The recession is really hurting them. Would you like to see them go under? That appears to be your attitude.

      My wife and I spent a couple hours at our downtown last night and we were perfectly safe.

  3. Santa Ana is not safe at all..
    unfortunate for businesses around the area..
    Where is the CCTV? It would be a life more efficient with better investing in security in the highest murder spot in Orange County, especially for a area that they are investing in for young citizens to hang out at.
    This is a horrible event. A life taken for a few bucks? This is a problem of the city. Votes for fake ID’s from the government itself.
    Economic Slavery in all its glory.

    1. Roy,

      Have you been in our downtown? I was there last night. It was safe and we had a great time.

      You can be robbed anywhere. Don’t panic over one robbery and shooting.

  4. Yes, Admin, you did express your condolences (in words). And I fully understand that “rumer-mongering and panic” “will only serve to kill jobs and hurt our city’s tax coffers;” however, the fact that someone’s child is dead cannot (and should not) be juxtaposed to the economic hit that Libreria Martinez is taking.

    1. Sylvia,

      I won’t apologize for that. There is a lot riding in our downtown doing well and this is the ONLY media outlet that isn’t panicking today.

      Yes, we are sorry for this death, but violence went up in Irvine last year too.

  5. This article makes me never want to set foot in santa ana again. This man died just yesterday and all you can do is try to promote santa ana and talk about what fun times you had with your wife there. And then, to add to it, you talk about how violence went up in irvine. What does that have to do with anything? Did he die in irvine? Did you want to list all the cities where violence went up? Do you really think that makes people in irvine want to come visit santa ana? I am from irvine and I felt like this was a tragedy but I would still visit santa ana. However, after reading your article, I will make sure to let all my friends know not to visit santa ana.

    1. Jen,

      We offered our condolences, but the fact is that we cannot allow our downtown to sink because of one tragedy.

      You do know by the way that a woman died ice skating at Irvine’s Great Park last year. Did you stop going to the Great Park?

      The media is panicking over this episode and I say that isn’t fair. Violence DID go up in Irvine last year, so it’s not like we have an exclusive on such acts here in Santa Ana.

      Irvine has no night life, so if you are going to stop visiting Santa Ana have fun in crowded, expensive Newport Beach.

  6. Admin

    Are you clueless? The point that you are missing is that we shouldn’t be talking about the night life in Santa Ana after a murder. It’s not the fact which city is safer than is about having the decency to deal with a innocent person who was murdered and the family suffering. It’s not the time to promote the “New Santa Ana”. There is a time for everything….and now isn’t the time for that! It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out….just a little compassion…

    1. David,

      Have you seen the media reports? Now is exactly the time for me to counter the BS that is being flung at the Register and elsewhere.

  7. Here’s a fun tidbit of information.

    Actually not too long before this young man was shot and killed and also before this author used this story as advertisement for how flawed Irvine is…..

    On this same street a bouncer (for one of these bars) was jumped by about 10 guys mainly of Mexican decent. No one ran to help him, nor did the police come right away.

    I’m very glad you and your wife had a fun time; however, my friends and I will absolutely not be braving these bars anymore.

  8. Iwas in santa ana the same night of the shooting, and I was almost shoot and killed just hours before. It was the same m.o. Two male hispanics pulled a large rifle from the trunk of their car and chased me and 3 other friends for 5 blocks. When cornered by the white nissan altima that they were driving they had 2 of us and I almost watched my friend die. He made it arond the corner safley and we are both glad we are alive. I live in south los angeles and I feel more safe there than anywhere in your city. There is no doubt in my mind that these are the same guys. Your cime contol sucks and you have no heart. Why are promoting safety when clearly it isn’t. Top it off my insident happened hours before this shooting. Screw santa ana, I will take my chances in watts for now on.

    1. devin,

      Did you report this alleged incident? I doubt it. Had you reported it, Chung might still be alive today. Instead you retreated to L.A. and allowed these criminals to strike again. You have blood on your hands.

      Our downtown has full time security patrols, paid for by the merchants. And I have seen an increase in police patrols since the Chung incident.

      If you are hanging around any downtown at 1:30 am you are at risk, particularly if you decide to fight an armed robber instead of handing over your money.

  9. I’m a 10 year artist in the village, and have watched the changes for better. We are a family who struggle, when one hurts we all hurt.

    Finally I have been seeing blue sky, a few sales, clientele who have the potential of buying art, great restaurants, ever changing events, music, art.

    Artists, bars, restaurants we are all a family. Visitors are part of that family.

    I feel that we lost one of our extended family with the murder of Chung. One minute he is in our home (Proof) enjoying himself with a friend. Then outsiders crash in, the hand of evil takes out one of our people, attempts to steal and then murders one of our family. I take it personally.

    I feel for his friend that was with him, how does he get back to his life, I feel for his family, friends.

    I’m disappointed that humanity does this to humanity. We, the artist village, lost one of it’s own, a visitor, a client, a man. Chung is gone, we, the village, will survive in spite of this event, we will take measures, to prevent things like this to happen again. Chung will not be forgotten.

    Bars and night time activities brings it’s own element and a reason to be cautious while having fun.

  10. All people ask is that we support other innocent victims and their family during a time of mourning. It’s great that you want to promote your business and what not… but it really just isn’t the time RIGHT NOW.

    You posted this so that you can promote and get people to go to Santa Ana for their nightlife and etc. But honestly.. i think BECAUSE of THIS POST.. u made people not want to go there at all. You used your brain to promote during this time, but by reading all these posts I think you can say you just got slapped by not using your heart first.

    I’m sure if your wife and kid got killed in Santa Ana, you wouldn’t be promoting Santa Ana saying it was “just a tragedy and it shouldn’t stop people from coming and blahblah”. You’d probably try to close down all those businesses yourself in fact if ur own family got robbed and murdered.

    Try not to think of these comments as attacks and get so defensive. Try to simply USE your heart God gave you.. you’d understand why everyone is “hating” on you then.

  11. Are you seriously trying to compare a woman dying from ice skating to a guy who was shot by two thugs? The first was an accident, the latter was murder.

    The point is not that one city is safer than the other. Your article comes off as callous and cold. Kat above me offered her condolences and of course does not want santa ana to suffer as that would affect her business since she sells artwork in downtown santa ana. However, she doesn’t come off sounding ignorant and callous. Instead, she says the village will survive and that they will take preventive measure to make sure something like this does not happen again. She’s not trying to blame other cities or take the spotlight off of the young man who was shot. You’d have much greater success hocking your city if you sounded like this tragedy had affected you at all.

    It’s not about which city is safer or about not wanting santa ana to suffer. It’s the tone of your article that bugs most people.

  12. Maybe if you replaced your article with Kat’s comment, you wouldn’t piss off so many people and they’d maybe eventually return to downtown santa ana.

  13. You are truly despicable- not only is your article a total misrepresentation of the true tragedy, but your attitude is just horrific. You glance over what was truly lost that night- a LIFE. Your fear of the nightlife losing its customers is completely absurd when two people wrongfully and cowardly shot and killed another human being. If Santa Ana loses some money over this, SO BE IT. Let the city mourn along with all the victim’s family and friends. I’m sure the nightlife would have returned to its normal state after some time, but by ignore the true tragedy and attempting to encourage people to keep coming since this was a “random act of violence” is completely disgraceful to the victim’s loved ones. True, it was a random act of violence, bad luck, and life is unfair; but for god sake, stop glancing over this MURDER.

    The city needs to find ways to protect the people- have cameras in the parking structures or security guards patrolling the area. Yes, that will take money, but the people’s SAFETY and PROTECTION is rightfully worthy of the extra money. If the downtown nightlife can’t provide that, then people should avoid this spot.

    A life was forever lost but this tragedy will forever exist in all of our hearts.

    AND just to clarify, the friend did not run away. I see that you have gotten your information from ABC news and I regret having to say that ABC news was wrong (shouldn’t all media portray bullet-proof truth), but you have told the story wrong. The friend did not run away, but rather stayed there and held Jeff as he bled out.

    There’s no right in this tragedy at all, but there’s no damn use to create more wrong but downplaying this death.

  14. All they need to do is put security cameras inside the parking structure and around the art district. That will prevent a lot of this type of crime, or at least have evidence if it is committed.

    They already spent so much money trying to revive that area, security cameras aren’t going to cost that much more.

  15. it’s a “art district” for Christ sake there shouldn’t be a need for security this shyt is deeper then that . it about the haves coming to the have not’s honestly put things into perspective its not hard to see the bigger picture

  16. I bet these killers live in your city. Most criminals will commit to these acts in an an area that they are comfortable with. Its an issue of poverty. Out of the entire orange county region I would like to assume, without any statistical information, that this area is stricken with poverty. Why else would someone kill another human being over the money in your pocket? For fun? If so, more of a reason not to be around “your” town. I hear of the city “trying” but how are they trying? Give me sufficient information where the money invested into the “patrols” and “security” made a difference. Its evident in this case that “all” that “effort” was of no use. Furthermore, how likely are the chances of the killers being caught? None? Do we know what they look like? No. Your city is doing great. Your city cares more about the money than they do of the safety of its people. Pathetic.

  17. well said Sam Santa Ana is a population of more or less of 300,000 people weather it is Rural Urban or Suburban this goes on a daily bases my heart goes out to the family’s that suffer these act’s of nonsense i h8 money becuase of the inequalities it causes for alternative solution please check this out i know wer’e a long way from this but stranger things have happened

  18. Wow …what a stupid article. Are you kidding me? Santa ana is a horrible city to be in once the sun goes down. Someone is always being murdered, robbed, etc. I would rather die fighting on my feet than die on my knees…Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to let good law abiding citizens CCW!!! I’m sure if this man had carried a gun on him he would have had a fighting chance against these scum bags.
    My prayers go out to the family.

  19. Man, oh man, emotions are high on this one. I would hate to have all of these people realize that they are all in the same room right now. I think that everyone should understand that when they advertise that a city is “horrible when the sun goes down”, they are committing an act of violence. Sure, it is said in casual fashion, but it is still ignorant and damaging. That is probably what some people are afraid of when they realize that a violent crime has been publicized in their town. By the way, it is a fact, that Santa Ana is becoming more and more popular after dark. People will keep coming to Santa Ana after dark in order to escape the banality that is Yorba Linda, Buena Park, and Rancho S.M. Never mind “Irvine”.

  20. Mateo,
    Please my statement is far from ignorant. The police reports speak for themselves. I’d like to know how my statement is an act of violence? If I didn’t read the newspaper, or know people who work in probation and Santa Ana PD, (who tell me first hand experiences), then perhaps you could claim that my statements are “ignorant.” As far as “damaging” I could care less. I have more important things to worry about than whether my little statement was damaging to a city’s reputation.
    Hooray for those that want to party in Santa Ana and have a FUN time, good for them that is their choice. Hope they don’t experience what Mr.Chung did.

  21. Maybe you’d feel differently if it was your daughter that was murdered.

    Jeff is one of the most genuine and loving friend I’ve ever had. If only you had the slightest idea of the great depths of sorrow his friends and family are going through right now…

    I miss and love you, Jeff. Rest in paradise.

  22. Dear Bio Chem Girl, you are in all probability correct about crime statistics in downtown Santa Ana. That is not the point. The point is about the mentality of those that want to passively accept statistics, rumors, generalities, stereotypes.whatever. There are many of us that are perfectly aware of the higher crime in that area, but choose to participate down there anyways and not accept the situation for what it is, or is rumored to be. Sam up above says that this murder story is more of a reason not to have anything to do with the city. The city is changing for the better, it is too bad that he is not going to desire to witness any change because of his fixed opinion. He wants to know if the city is going to do anything about it? They already have this week. In fact, they have done too many things to list here, but people can find out if they stay tuned to the situation instead of turning away. A friend mailed me a picture of the lead suspects. I am posting it on an artists village wall tomorrow. Rest in peace Jeff

  23. I am from Santa Ana. I’e grown up and lived here my whole life. Let me just say that the Admin does not represent my city. Just by saying ‘our condolences to the Chung family’ you can’t claim you’re showing sympathy.. especially when it’s followed by “we hope this tragedy won’t dissuade our Irvine friend from visiting our exciting and fun downtown!!!!!” (exclamation points added for dramatic effect)

    Someone was murdered. In our downtown. Over a wallet. No one is over-reacting. Hopefully this tragedy leads to greater police presence and maybe forcing the company that operates that parking structure hire a security guard that’s not in his late 70’s.

    Yeah Santa Ana isn’t as safe as cities in south OC, but it is what it is. I’ve hung out in downtown santa ana; it’s fun and I’ve never been robbed, stabbed, shanked, raped, and/or murdered. In fact the worse thing that has happened to my family ever here was someone breaking into my dad’s old pick up and trying to take his stereo (it was in the middle of the night in the early 90’s – we got through it).



  25. Unfortunately, Santa Ana is over populated approx more than 350,000 residents in Santa Ana compared to surrounding cities, except for Anaheim, who have less or more than 200,000 residents. Unfortunately for Santa Ana, the city gets a bad rap because it has more chances of having a person be a victim of crime. Then, you have The redundant obese Orange County Register reporters who exploit the negatives of Santa Ana. My thoughts and prayers to the Chung family.

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