Domestic assault call prompts school lockdowns

NEWPORT BEACH — A domestic violence call Thursday afternoon forced several local schools into lockdown while police sought a suspect who had fled the scene.

According to a Newport Beach Police Department release, the suspect, Mark Ward, was not apprehended until the following morning, after a day on the run.

Ward, a Nevada resident and estranged husband of the victim, was arrested at 9:44 a.m. for attempted murder.

“The charge was based on witness statements and victim statements,” said Sgt. Steve Burdette via email. “Apparently she (the victim) had severe bruising throughout her body.”

Since Ward had left the scene before police were able to respond or begin gathering details of the crime, the nearby schools in the area of the 2600 block of San Joaquin Hills Road — Lincoln Elementary, Harbor Day, Newport Center Methodist and Pacific Shores — were notified around 1 p.m. the day of the report, Oct. 21.

“School Officials elected to lockdown the schools as a precautionary measure,” the release further noted.

After determining the severity of the attack, a warrant for attempted murder was put out on Ward.

He was ultimately tracked down after police dispatch received a call that a suspicious male subject was hiding behind a barbecue grill in a backyard in the 2600 block of Lighthouse Lane.

Police found Ward hiding on a hillside nearby and he was taken into custody without incident.

Newport Beach police encourage anyone with any information regarding the suspect or incident to contact them at (800) 550-NBPD. Messages can be left anonymously if desired.

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