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Police: Man who killed Mendocino County deputy linked to second death

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeHomicideShootingsLaw EnforcementTour Operations IndustryKamala D. Harris

A suspect in the killing of a Mendocino County sheriff's deputy has been linked by police in Oregon to the shooting death of a 79-year-old man and a subsequent fire.

Police in Eugene, Ore., say 32-year-old Ricardo Antonio Chaney is a person of interest in the slaying of 79-year-old George Bundy Wasson, the Associated Press reported. Further details were not available.

Authorities who responded to a fire around 12:36 a.m. Wednesday in Eugene found Wasson shot to death. Police say the fire was started after Wasson was killed, the AP reported.

Chaney is suspected of carjacking two men a short time later before driving to California, where sheriff's officials say he shot and killed Mendocino County Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino.

Police say the two carjacking victims escaped and were unharmed.

Gov. Jerry Brown and a slew of state officials and law enforcement leaders offered public condolences to Del Fiorentino after the fatal shooting in Mendocino County.

"Anne and I were saddened to learn of the tragic death of Deputy Del Fiorentino," Brown said in a statement. "Deputy Del Fiorentino was killed upholding the oath he swore: To protect his community."

Brown ordered Capitol flags be flown at half-staff.

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris also issued a statement, saying Del Fiorentino's death is a "stark reminder of the danger our brave men and women in law enforcement face every day to keep our communities safe."

Chaney appeared hundreds of miles south of Oregon at Confusion Hill, a tourist attraction north of Leggett, Calif., around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

John Mills, the attraction's manager, told KPIX-5 that Chaney fired a couple of shots from a sawed-off shotgun after he told him to stop urinating nearby. Mills said he fired back with a pistol but did not appear to have struck him.

The manhunt continued as Chaney fled and was later spotted on Highway 1, leading authorities on a car chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said Chaney opened fire with an assault rifle when Del Fiorentino, 48, of Fort Bragg, came upon the stolen car.

A Fort Bragg police lieutenant heard the gunfire, followed the sound and arrived to find Chaney scavenging through Del Fiorentino's car. After a gun battle, the lieutenant later found Chaney dead in the bushes.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

Twitter: @aribloomekatz

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