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Porn actor falls over cliff, ending standoff

June 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators say an adult-film actor who allegedly killed a co-worker with a sword and slashed others Tuesday was in a police standoff near a home on the 8800 block of Azul Drive in West Hills Saturday. Stephen Hill died after leaping off a cliff, but the cause of death was not clear.At approximately 5:30 p.m., police attempted to end the standoff. They surrounded the suspect in close proximity as he turned around and attempted to jump.

At least one officer fired a Taser or beanbag gun at Hill as he went over the edge. He fell approximately 40 to 50 feet down, striking the cliff face several times before sliding to a stop. Paramedics immediately treated him and transported him to a hospital. The suspect appeared unconscious as he was loaded into an ambulance.

"It appeared he was going to take his life, so the decision was made to deploy less-lethal munitions," said LAPD Detective Gus Villanueva. "The munitions were deployed. He then leapt off the cliff."

The LAPD confirmed at approximately 7:50 p.m. Saturday that Stephen Hill died. The cause was under investigation.

Early in the day, a West Hills resident spotted Hill on the 8800 block of Azul Drive and called police, knowing Hill was wanted for murder.

A SWAT team surrounded a West Hills home and a barricade was set up around the premises at around 9:30 a.m. Authorities established contact inside with 34-year-old Stephen Clancy Hill.

Later in the day, the suspect reportedly climbed a hillside near the house and threatened suicide. In the afternoon, Hill was standing at the edge of a high cliff as police personnel nearby tried to negotiate with him.

Investigators said when police arrived on the scene, there was a short foot pursuit as they chased Hill to the edge of the cliff. He remained at the edge as police surrounded him. He threatened to kill himself with a sword he was holding against his torso, or by jumping over the edge.

Given Hill's location on the edge of the cliff, the LAPD said they did not want to use any methods other than negotiating for fear that non-lethal methods could push Hill over the edge.

Crisis negotiators and SWAT officers were trying to convince Hill to surrender peacefully. Police said Hill would be hospitalized due to probable dehydration from being out on the cliff for about seven hours. He would then be arrested and charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

"They threw him some water a little while ago," said local resident Tom Sprague. "He sat down. That's the first time I've seen him sit down. He drank the water and then he got back up and when the SWAT team moves in, he pulls the knife to his chest and then threatens that he's going to fall on it."

At approximately 5:30 p.m., police moved in. They could be seen in close proximity to the suspect as he turned around and attempted to jump. At least one officer fired a Taser or beanbag gun at Hill as he went over the edge.

Van Nuys sword attack

Stephen Hill allegedly attacked his colleagues at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ultima DVD Inc.'s distribution and production center at the Hayvenhurst Airport Business Park near Hayvenhurst Avenue and Saticoy Street in Van Nuys. There was allegedly filming going at the adult-video distribution business and Hill was working on the set.

Hill was charged Friday with murder and attempted murder. Ultima DVD Inc.'s Eric Jover offered a $2,000 reward on the company's website for information leading to the arrest of Hill.

Hill allegedly attacked one man near the back of the facility and turned on two others when they tried to intervene, police said. A 30-year-old man who tried to help suffered a stab wound to the torso and died at a hospital. The other two victims were expected to survive.

Surveillance photos show Hill apparently leaving the crime scene with the sword still in his hand.

Apparently the weapon was a prop used in porn films. One man who didn't want to be identified told Eyewitness News that Hill always carried weapons and swords in his vehicle.

Hill was living in the building where the attack took place. He was reportedly about to be fired for inappropriate behavior and was told he would have to move out.

Hill appeared in some Ultima films and is credited with having appeared in 13 adult films and went by the stage name "Steve Driver." He had also worked on Ultima film's website, according to police.

According to several reports, Hill has had a history of violence. In 1998, he attended the University of Maryland, where he was arrested for threatening a teaching assistant with a gun in order to get an "A" on a test.

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