Gov. Jerry Brown and a slew of state officials and law enforcement leaders offered public condolences after a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot Wednesday by a carjacker on a crime spree that began in Oregon.
“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 Ricky 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.”
Authorities said the suspected gunman, 32-year-old Ricardo Antonio Chaney of Eugene, Ore., began his crime spree with an armed robbery Wednesday in Eugene when he stole a BMW and forced its occupants into the trunk, according to the Press Democrat.
Authorities have speculated that those hostages may have escaped or were freed.
Chaney then appeared hundreds of miles south of Oregon at Confusion Hill, a tourist attraction north of Leggett, Calif., around 10:30 a.m.
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. After briefly eluding him, 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.
Twitter was also flooded with law enforcement officials and groups offering their support after the deputy was killed, including from LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who tweeted: “Prayers with @MendoSheriff Dept as they mourn fallen Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino shot & killed in the line of duty. #hero never forgotten.”