Antonio “Tony” Pastini, the pilot of a fatal Cessna plane crash in Yorba Linda that killed him and four people in a neighborhood home, had fake credentials that identified him as a Chicago police officer. He was flying to visit family in the area. Authorities haven’t yet said what caused the terrifying crash, and more details are emerging. Here’s what we know so far about Antonio Pastini.
1. Pastini Was Originally Identified as a Retired Chicago Police Officer, But Those Credentials Were Not Authentic
Shortly after the crash on Sunday, Pastini, 75, was identified as a former Chicago police officer who had been with the force for 21 years. Later, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said they discovered that the credentials weren’t legitimate, ABC 7 reported. The Chicago Police Department contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s office after news spread that he was a former officer, and said this was not the case.
Authorities say that his other credentials, which included an FAA pilot’s license, are authentic. It’s not clear why he had the Chicago Police credentials that were not real.
2. The Plane Appeared to Explode Over a Yorba Linda Neighborhood, Killing Four People in a Home Below
On Sunday, the plane crashed about 10 minutes from the Fullerton Municipal Airport.
Security cam footage shows debris from the plane falling. Authorities said that debris hit the home below, killing the people inside.
The victims in the home below have not yet been identified, ABC 7 noted, because DNA analysis is needed for official identifications. Originally, reports said two had died and two had suffered burn injuries. Authorities said the residents were hosting a football party when the crash happened, KABC reported. Neighbors told KTLA 5 that the victims were a husband, wife, daughter, and son-in-law.
Parts of the plane’s fuselage were found in the back yard of a home on Canyon Drive, near the home on Crestknoll Drive that was destroyed. Debris from the plane damaged four to five homes, NTSB said.
The cause of the crash is not known. Witnesses said they saw the plane appear to explode in the air and pieces fall to the neighborhood below. Others said they heard some kind of high-pitched sound before the plane crashed. No distress call was made before the crash. He had climbed to 7,800 feet before the crash, Record Courier reported.
Pastini was flying solo and had taken off in a 1981 Cessna 414A at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, OC Register shared.
3. Pastini Owned Kim Lee’s Sushi in Carson City, & Had Also Owned a Deli and Hot Dog Store
Pastini, who is from Gardnerville, Nevada and lived in Ruhenstroth, owned a restaurant in Carson City, Record Courier reported. Record Courier identified the restaurant as Sushi & Teri Kim Lee’s Japanese Restaurant, however other sources (including a 2010 article) identified it as Kim Lee’s Sushi. You can see Kim Lee’s Sushi & Teriyaki’s Facebook page here. A 2014 version of the website says that it was originally called “Sushi Teri” and was established by Debbie Pastini and Esikai Sato.
The original restaurant opened in 1991 and moved in 2008, according to Record Courier, and a Gardnerville location opened in 2009 and closed in 2014. However, the website indicates that the first restaurant actually opened in 1988 in Reno, Nevada. A 2013 website indicates that at one point, the restaurant had three locations: Carson City, Gardnerville, and Dayton. (Cached versions of the website are being linked because the restaurant’s domain registration expired on January 29 and is pending renewal.)
Online reviews show the restaurant is beloved. It has 3.5 stars on Yelp and 4.5 stars out of nearly 300 reviews on Google.
Pastini also trained restaurant owners on food and safety, NBC Los Angeles reported.
A 2010 story by Record Courier noted that Tony Pastini also owned Tony’s Chicago Deli in Gardnerville and Mike’s Weiner World. In that article, Pastini discussed has much he looked like a man who was using stolen debit cards to buy money orders and make bank withdrawals. His customers were asking if he was the man, but he pointed out that he had a tattoo that the man didn’t have and a different-shaped nose.
Pastini also owned a tree farm in Oregon and has a twin brother.
4. He Was an Experienced Pilot Who Sometimes Flew Medical Missions
His daughter, Julia Ackley, told OC Register that he had flown planes her entire life, and was very familiar with the plane that crashed. “He loved that plane,” she said. “It was his baby.” He had owned the Cessna for about a year and had a new motor installed and got the plane a new paint job. Aviation records showed he purchased the plane on December 21, 2017, and it was registered in Chiloquin, Herald and News reported. New registration was pending at the time of the crash. It was filed by KL Management LLC in Klamath Falls on October 31, 2018 and had been pending since January 2. The Oregon Secretary of State’s office said that the company doesn’t exist, but the address belongs to the location of a quilting business owned by a relative, Debbie Pastini.
The plane, an eight-seat Cessna, was built in 1981, Herald and News reported.
Pastini was a licensed commercial pilot and had a multi-engine landing rating, Record Courier reported.
His daughter, Julia Ackley, told NBC Los Angeles that he often flew medical missions for Angel Flights. She said he could fly single-engines, multi-engines, and helicopters.
5. Pastini Had Three Daughters and Seven Grandchildren. His Daughter Said He Was Her Hero.
Pastini was married and had three grown daughters, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Ackley said her father often flew the plane to visit family, and had just flown into Fullerton on Friday night, two days before the crash. He spent time with her and her daughter, KTLA 5 reported. “We ended up having lunch and ice cream and making plans for [my daughter’s] softball game,” she said.
The last she heard from, she said, was when he told her that he loved her and would be visiting again soon. She told media that her dad was her hero.
Pastini was born Jordan Isaacson, but he went by Antonio “Tony” Pastini, his daughter told NBC Los Angeles. He was also sometimes called Ike.