A 63-year-old man who was hit by a vehicle and killed at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut in what authorities said was an apparent “intentional act” was a tram driver for disabled students at the campus, the college president said Friday.
The victim — identified by the coroner’s office as Rafael Barragan Jr. — died at the scene after being hit around 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the 1100 block of North Grand Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect was identified as James Milliken, a former employee of the college, according to the LASD.
“Deputies went to the location on a report of a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision call for service at the Mt. San Antonio College,” according to a sheriff’s department statement. “When deputies arrived, they located the pedestrian unresponsive and suffering from trauma.”
Milliken was taken to a hospital for unspecified injuries. Sheriff’s officials said he appeared to have intentionally struck Barragan, who was known on campus as Ralph. Milliken was subsequently booked on suspicion of murder, sheriff’s officials said.
On Friday, Bill Scroggins, president & CEO of the college, issued a statement to the “Mt. SAC Family” saying, “It is with deep sorrow that I share with the Mt. San Antonio College community that we have lost one of our campus’ shining lights: Ralph Barragan.
“Ralph died Thursday morning after being struck by a car outside of Building 9A. Los Angeles County Sheriffs are investigating the incident, including the possibility it was an intentional act.
“We will provide updates as more information is available. This is as tragic a situation as we can imagine on our campus. Our hearts and sincere condolences go out to Ralph’s family and countless friends.
“Ralph was 63 years old. He began working as a tram driver for ACCESS — disabled students program — in July 2007. He joined us after a 23-year career as a bus driver for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He was responsible for transporting students with disabilities to all parts of the college. Ralph was highly visible on campus, gracious, popular, and respected.”
The ACCESS office was closed after the crash, and remained closed on Friday. Counseling and support services were offered to all members of the college community, Scroggins said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.