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PICO RIVERA – An innocent Pico Rivera man was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies last week after deputies mistook him for a parolee who had fled inside a home while trying to evade law enforcement.
Cedric Ramirez, 24, was wanted for parole violations. Deputies tried to arrest him Friday at around 5 p.m. on the 9000 block of Reichling Lane in unincorporated Whittier but he ran.
Deputies tracked Ramirez to the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera, where Ramirez allegedly fired at officers and broke into a house through a rear window.
The homeowner, 54-year-old Frank Mendoza, emerged from the home’s front door and was shot and killed by deputies.
At 1:30 a.m., SWAT members entered the home and rescued Mendoza’s wife, who was being held hostage. Ramirez died in a shootout with SWAT officers.
Below is a statement released by Chief William McSweeney of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Detective Division:
“I stand here today to present a series of events that occurred last night in Pico Rivera. An innocent man is dead, and so is a violent criminal. Four people, including a hostage, survived. But the central story is about tragedy and the grief of a family.
At about 5pm last night Sheriff’s Deputies and a Probation Officer went to a house in search of wanted Parolee, Cedric Ramirez. When Ramirez spotted the Officers, he ran from the residence. Neighboring patrol units were notified the parolee had fled into the neighborhood.
A short time later Deputies discovered Ramirez on the driveway of a nearby home. Ramirez saw the Deputies and immediately fired at them. A deputy returned fire and may have wounded him. Ramirez then ran behind a house and broke into the home through a rear window.
Pursuing Deputies, fearful the occupants would be harmed, went to the home’s front door and began evacuating the residents from the house. An adult and two children were rushed from the house when Ramirez appeared in an interior hallway and began shooting at the Deputies. The Deputies returned fire and then retreated to the front yard, seeking cover.
Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the front doorway. Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at the man. The man dropped unconscious in the doorway and was subsequently recognized to be one of the residents. Preliminary information indicates those shots likely struck Mr. Frank Mendoza.
Within minutes, deputies commenced a dangerous recovery of Mr. Mendoza while the armed parolee remained inside the home with a hostage. Mr. Mendoza was taken to awaiting paramedics but they regrettably could not revive him. Ramirez remained armed and inside the house holding the hostage throughout the night. At 1:30 am, after hostage negotiators failed to convince the man to release the hostage and give himself up, a Sheriff’s special weapons team entered the house and rescued the hostage. In that process, Ramirez was shot by deputies. The hostage was not harmed, and no Deputies were injured. However, Ramirez died as a result of the gunshot wounds.
This incident was beyond tragic, and all of law enforcement grieves with the Mendoza family. We have made personal contact with the family, and have expressed our regret and sadness over these events.”
Published: Aug. 7, 2014 – Volume 13 – Issue 17