It’s OK, I’m a doctor

Sometimes it pays to be an elderly, white physician.

A Chico plastic surgeon cited for brandishing a firearm while driving along Highway 32 from Orland to Chico after a traffic altercation last month has yet to be charged in connection with that incident.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office has not received the paperwork from the California Highway Patrol, the agency that cited Dr. Donald Mangus for allegedly waving or pointing a .32 caliber handgun at two young men after one of them pulled their vehicle onto the road, cutting off the 72-year-old doctor.

Eric Lund, the officer liaison for the CHP, said Mangus was cited for three misdemeanors in connection with his actions: brandishing a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Mangus, who does not have a concealed-weapon permit, according to Lund, had his gun confiscated and was allowed to continue driving home.

The incident was reportedly sparked when a vehicle cut Mangus off on Highway 32 west of Hamilton City as the doctor was heading east to Chico. There is some question as to whether he waved the gun or actually pointed it at the occupants of the vehicle that allegedly cut him off. That car carried two 22-year-olds from Chico, Louis Yiskis and Martin Paugh.

A witness in the vehicle behind the two young men told officers that Mangus had not just waved the gun but had actually pointed it at Yiskis and Paugh.

“He was apparently oblivious to the fact you don’t draw a gun while you’re driving a vehicle,” Lund said. Brandishing a firearm in a vehicle is technically a felony, and he said he is not sure why the officer on the scene did not cite Mangus for one.

Mangus was quoted in the Chico Enterprise-Record as saying he thought the two men were “gang members.”

“If they had been gang members, I think I would feel good about what I did,” he told the paper.

The CHP’s Lund said he was not sure why Mangus was not taken into custody.

“This was certainly an arrestable offense,” he said. “All misdemeanors are. But then it comes down to the discretion of the officer. Sometimes it’s a matter of time constraints, having to drive all the way to Oroville for booking.”

Ramsey said he is aware of the case but knows little more than the account he read in the E-R a week ago.

Brandishing a weapon means handling it in a “rude, angry or threatening manner,” Ramsey said. It is a step down from assault with a deadly weapon, which requires either attempting to squeeze the trigger or actually doing so and missing the target.

Lund said the CHP office will pass the paperwork on once a sergeant has signed off on the officer’s report. It will then come to Ramsey, who will decide whether to file charges. As in any case, Ramsey said, the issue comes down intention on the part of the accused.

That fact Mangus has no concealed weapons permit means if charged, he has no defense, Ramsey said. One can legally carry a gun in a vehicle even without a concealed weapons permit as long as the weapon is not loaded, resting in plain view and the bullets are located where the owner cannot readily access them.

“Like any criminal case, we will consider the person’s past and balance that against the seriousness of the crime,” Ramsey said.

According to Butte County Court records, since 1985 Mangus has been taken to Small Claims Court twice and has had two malpractice cases dismissed, one as recently as this past June.

Efforts by the News & Review to talk with Mangus were unsuccessful.