Pico Rivera man mistakenly killed by deputy in gunfight

Neighbors watch as Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives investigate in Pico Rivera on Saturday after a gun battle between deputies and a wanted parolee left an innocent bystander dead.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy inadvertently shot and killed the resident of a Pico Rivera home during a gunfight with a wanted parolee Friday, authorities said.

Deputies were searching for 24-year-old Cedric Ramirez around 5 p.m. Friday at a house in the 9000 block of Reichling Lane, hoping to arrest him on parole violations, said sheriff’s department Chief of Detectives Bill McSweeney.

Ramirez spotted deputies and ran away, and when deputies tracked him to the driveway of a nearby home he opened fire on them, McSweeney said.


Ramirez broke into the home through a rear window. Deputies entered through the front door and rushed an adult and two children out of the house, while Ramirez continued firing at them, McSweeney said.

When resident Frank Mendoza, 54, appeared in the doorway, a deputy mistook him for Ramirez and shot him twice, McSweeney said.

He said Mendoza was crumpled unconscious in the doorway, with bullet wounds in the head and leg.

When deputies realized their mistake, they tried to rescue Mendoza, McSweeney said, but he was dead by the time paramedics reached him.

Ramirez took Mendoza’s wife hostage and held her until 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when a tactical team entered the house and fatally shot him, McSweeney said. The woman was unharmed.

Ramirez was wanted on felony warrants for vehicle theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm, authorities said.


McSweeney said the deputy who fired at Mendoza was an 11-year veteran with “a very fine record.” He declined to release the deputy’s name.