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Firearms Defendant Kills Himself

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Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2011 7:59 am

Felony weapons charges against a Running Springs man were dismissed on Sept. 20 in a San Bernardino Superior courtroom after the deputy district attorney prosecuting him informed the judge the defendant had committed suicide.

Randall Jay Rusciolelli, 47, sent a typewritten letter announcing his intentions to The Mountain News shortly before shooting himself in the head on Sept. 19. The letter said he intended to kill himself while seated "under my favorite tree."

The letter said Rusciolelli was a lifelong gun collector. It also denied allegations by a former girlfriend that he had threatened her life.

Rusciolelli, a 20-year full-time resident who owned a plumbing company, was arrested at his Firwood Drive home Sept. 2 after his unidentified one-time girlfriend phoned sheriff's department dispatchers to say he had threatened to kill her and that he had numerous weapons at his home.

Authorities obtained a search warrant and arrested Rusciolelli after he reportedly tried to flee on foot, reportedly armed with a loaded pistol. Rusciolelli's letter did not comment on why he attempted to flee.

Approximately 50 weapons were found in his home, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition, including tracer rounds, whose possession is illegal in California, deputies said.

Rusciolelli, who court records say had no prior criminal charges, was free on $500,000 bail at the time of his death. He faced seven felonies, including threatening a crime, three counts of possessing an explosive device in a public place and three of possessing an assault weapon.

The charges were dismissed by Judge Richard V. Peel at the request of prosecutor Karen Khim. Her motion came during a disposition hearing. Khim told the judge she had confirmed Rusciolelli's death with the sheriff's department, and moved for dismissal in the interests of justice.

According to a sheriff's report, Rusciolelli called his ex-wife's workplace at 4:32 p.m. on Sept. 19 and left her a voicemail saying he was going to kill himself at home. The woman told authorities she could hear a gunshot and moaning as the message played.

Rusciolelli's letter said he was "a collector of fine firearms both military and commercial." He placed the value of his collection at $283,000.

The envelope which held his letter also contained a photocopy of what purported to be a temporary permit for one assault weapon, issued Dec. 9, 1990, by then-Attorney General John K. Van De Kamp.

Rusciolelli denied the threat charge and said it was made by an ex-girlfriend who had called him "at all hours of the day and night" after their breakup.

"I am not a survivalist, paramilitarist, nor a right or left-winger," his letter said. "I am an American citizen who loves to go into the desert to shoot rifles, pistols and shotguns.

"My guns have never killed any living thing, and in my 31 years of target shooting no harm has ever been inflicted upon any beings," he wrote.

Rusciolelli's letter also included a handwritten message. "This is not a reckless act," he said of his impending suicide, "as the bullet may lodge in the tree bark if it exits my scull (sic)."

His 10-paragraph letter ended with a political statement. "We Americans are losing too many of our rights under the guides (sic) of terrorism laws," he wrote.

After noting that, if convicted, he could expect to spend from one to six years in prison, Rusciolelli typed an apology to all his friends.

"But I cannot handle that I am now penniless, homeless and about to lose my freedom over my zealous collecting," he wrote. "Thank you for all the times we had. It is better to die a free and armed man than a broke, imprisoned and unarmed one."


  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Johnny c posted at 10:24 am on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Johnny c Posts: 92

    Randy sounds like a man just like me and my close friends. what a perfect shame that he was treated as a criminal and not a victim of a harassing ex girlfriend. folks, if this isnt a wake up call, I dont know what is....didnt know you Randy, but I wish I had... RIP.

  • SonOfLiberty posted at 11:38 am on Mon, Oct 3, 2011.

    SonOfLiberty Posts: 1

    "Tragic", "sad", "misguided politicians"? Are you folks completely naive? Google
    "Tom Ball suicide" and read about the Second Set of Books law enforcement uses
    to destroy your liberties, rights and freedoms--and why you're going to end up in
    jail stripped of your rights and basic freedoms, too. For example, did you know the Constitutional right to habeus corpus was extinquished by Military Order No. 1?
    The Constitution has been dead for 20 years.

    I never knew Randy Ruscioletti. Nevertheless to me his suicide was the
    couragous act of a man who was willing to die for his principals and beliefs rather than be treated like a dog by a debased and tyrannical government and justice system. How many men like Randy Ruscioletti exist remains to be seen. As Ruscioletti said, "It is better to die a free and armed man than a broke, imprisoned, unarmed one." Live free or die is not some clever PR campaign slogan.

    If the State can take away your children on a whim, what right can't they take away? What right is more precious than the right to raise your own children?

    Randy Ruscioletti deserves a place in your personal Hall of Heros along side the Founding Fathers. He's cut from the same cloth. The woman who caused his
    death deserves to lose her citizenship and to be sent into exile for the rest of her
    life for she is an agent of tyranny and a witch--which will never happen.

    Ruscioletti's letter will never see the light of day with the main stream media.
    Please foward his letter to other Patriots. The Second American Revolution has claimed another warrior. Will you be ready when it's your turn?

  • daniwcca posted at 9:38 am on Sat, Oct 1, 2011.

    daniwcca Posts: 1

    It is tragic Mr. Rusciolelli, didn't know he could rely on the help of friends and family. Where is the NRA on this, does anyone know? I pray for his soul, and that in his death, his sacrifice will have meaning. Please, to the Police, District Attorney, and County of San Bernardino/ City of Running Springs, this woman needs to be brought to justice, if as the letter says, there is evidence of her malicious behavior towards Randy.

  • free-man posted at 2:22 pm on Fri, Sep 30, 2011.

    free-man Posts: 1

    This is so sad. Completely a life destroyed due to uneducated voters and misguided politicians. This mans blood is on the hands of the politicians who voted for the Roberti-Roos "assault weapons" ban, and the the voters who put them in power. This is an absolute shame on California.

  • deltabravo posted at 1:38 pm on Thu, Sep 29, 2011.

    deltabravo Posts: 2

    Thank you for posting the letter in it's entirety.

  • Randy's Sister posted at 1:18 pm on Thu, Sep 29, 2011.

    Randy's Sister Posts: 1

    Please see Randy's letter in full below...

    From Randy Rusciolelli
    Journey Man Plumbing

    An open letter to the Mountain Communities

    I was a collector of fine firearms both military and commercial. The actual value of the firearms and ammo taken from me was $283,000.00. The terrorist threat charge was made against me by a girl I broke up with over 4 months ago. She had called at all hours of the day and night and the Sheriff’s have the evidence in both our phone records. I called for help over 3 different months to no avail. Recently she broke into my house through a dog door and changed my email password and stole several items of mine. I never threatened her life and had only called her 2 times in the last 3-4 months. To her ever increasing attacks on me, all I can say to the Sheriff’s is “Total shame on you”.

    When I was arrested, they had already possessed both our phone records and recordings of my alleged threats and no corroborating witnesses. The explosive charges against me are for possessing more than 1 pound of sporting (Goex) black powder, possessing military tracer rounds illegal in California, but legal in Arizona, Nevada and other states, and for a destructive device that is a $250.00 black powder golf ball commercially manufactured and clearly stamped for “Black Powder Only” with a fuse hole in the base.

    I possess only 1 California Assault weapons license that was issued to me in 1990. Notice that the enclosed license is marked temporary as no permanent one was ever issued. I can only fire one rifle at a time but regardless, they discovered an additional 5 banned rifles without permits.

    In 47 years, I have absolutely no criminal or civil record. My bail was set at half a million dollars and most likely will be raised to 1.5 million in my next court appearance. I am not a survivalist, paramilitarist, nor a right or left-winger. I am an American citizen who loves to go into the desert to shoot rifles, pistols and shot guns. I wished I could have had a 155mm Howister canon too, but I did not. My guns have never killed any living thing, and in my 31 years of target shooting, no harm has ever been inflicted upon any beings.

    I read the articles about my arrest, and I am astounded by the fact that these officers lied about how they even came to arrest me. Please re-read the articles again.

    I found out this 47 year old girlfriend has a history of attacking and suing her last 3 boyfriends. This is a fact that I have found out too late. The police have recording of her on tape admitting to have broken into my house. During the breach, she managed to open my computer and proceeded to change my email, passwords and other devious things.

    I have owned my house on Firwood drive in Running Springs for 20 years, and in one day I lost my house, closed my business and had every item taken from me of significant value that I had collected over the span of my lifetime. I spent 6 days in jail and after posting bail of $500,000.00, I got out and spent time with my parents, family, and my dog. Within days of this, I had to go back to court and the judge immediately issued a criminal restraining order against me. “Amazing”!

    I cannot let my freedom be placed in control by our present justice system. I have consulted with many top lawyers, and all advised me that 10 years ago, this search warrant would have been illegal; not anymore.
    We Americans are losing too many of our rights under the guides of terrorism laws. The bottom line is that the above stated violations will result in a 6 year stay in state prison with the lowest end being a 1 year term with felony conviction. I apologize to all that know me, but I cannot handle that I am now penniless, homeless and about to lose my freedom over my zealous collecting. Thank you for all the times we had. It is better to die a free and armed man than a broke, imprisoned and un-armed one.

  • deltabravo posted at 12:05 pm on Thu, Sep 29, 2011.

    deltabravo Posts: 2

    Randy's final 1 page letter in this article, has been totally edited and censored folks.

    You are not getting the whole story here.


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