Officials Tell Grieving Family They Fatally Shot Homeowner Believing Him To Be Wanted Parolee
PICO RIVERA (CBSLA.com) — The tragedy for the Mendoza family of Pico Rivera — on losing family patriarch Frank to gun violence Friday evening — was perhaps only compounded upon learning he was shot, accidentally, by law enforcement.
KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz was at a news conference Saturday evening where LA County Chief Detective William McSweeney told reporters that a deputy “fired two shots at Mendoza believing he was [suspect] Ramirez.”
Friday evening, the suspect, Cedric Ramirez — a 24-year-old parolee wanted for weapons possession and a stolen car — was fleeing officers when he ran into the Mendoza home, about a block away from his home.
The Mendozas were strangers to Ramirez. Frank Sr., 54, was killed and his 60-year-old wife, Lorraine, was held hostage for more than eight hours before police stormed the home and killed Ramirez.
Cruz reported that the Sheriff’s Department contacted both of Mendozas sons — Jeremy and Frank Jr. — to offer condolences.
Cruz reported, “Lorraine Mendoza walked slowly to a waiting car. She didn’t talk, she didn’t have to. The way she moved said it all. She endured a night most of us can’t even imagine.”
Her husband was dead outside, she was held hostage.
“She was locked in the bathroom. She thought that was the safe thing to do,” said Jeremy.
Mendoza’s family suggests the deputy who shot Frank Sr. acted irresponsibly.
“Well, there was an active gun fight at the time and the investigation will determine if his actions are supportable or not,” said McSweeney.
Frank Jr. was able to confront the suspect before the shooting went down.
“We were tussling for a bit but then I turned around and my daughter was right there so the best thing I could do was just get [my kids] outta there,” said Frank Jr.
Deputies eventually made their way into the home and say Ramirez tried shooting at them so they shot back killing him.
All day Saturday, the Mendozas were moving clothes out of the home. Lorraine told her sons it would be too painful to live back in the home — she is moving away for good.