A 63-year-old man fatally struck by a car in what authorities described as an intentional act on a Southern California college campus was identified Friday by Mt. San Antonio College officials.
Rafael Barragan Jr. was struck and killed in a parking lot on the campus in Walnut in eastern Los Angeles County. He was a tram driver for disabled students, the college president said in an email.
Barragan died at the scene around 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the 1100 block of North Grand Avenue.
The driver of the vehicle that struck him was taken to a hospital. Sheriff’s officials said the driver appeared to have intentionally struck Barragan, who was known on campus as Ralph.
On Friday, Bill Scroggins, president & CEO of the college, issued a statement.
“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,” Scroggins said. “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.”
Barragan began working as a tram driver for ACCESS, a disabled students program, in July 2007. He joined Mt. SAC after a 23-year career as a bus driver for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Barragan transported students with disabilities to all parts of the campus.
A longtime employee at Mt. San Antonio College was hit and killed by a driver. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News on Dec. 1, 2022.
“Ralph was highly visible on campus, gracious, popular, and respected,” Scroggins said.
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.
“The traffic collision appears to be an intentional act,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
It wasn’t clear what led to the crash and authorities had not yet revealed why it was being investigated as an intentional crash.
The suspect in the fatal collision was identified by authorities Friday as 38-year-old James Milliken. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
Officials with Mt. SAC said Milliken was employed by the school part-time, starting in October 2016. His last date of employment was September 2021. He also was a student, having enrolled in Summer 2010 and last attended in Spring 2018.
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.