PICO RIVERA (CBSLA.com) — Friends and family held a candlelight vigil Sunday night for the Pico Rivera grandfather and homeowner accidentally shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy during a standoff between a suspect and law enforcement Friday evening.
KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper said the vigil was packed with mourners.
An entire block of mourners brought candles, flowers and cards, she reported. They all prayed for the Mendoza family.
“It’s going to be hard without him,” said Frank Mendoza, Jr.
He was speaking about his 54-year-old father. Frank Mendoza Sr. was a father to eight and a grandfather to 10.
The slain man’s son didn’t want to discuss how how father died — likely as the result of being gunned down by a sheriff who mistook him for 27-year-old parolee Cedric Ramirez.
The parolee held Frank Sr’s wife — Lorraine Mendoza, 60 — hostage for more than eight hours. Deputies stormed the home and got into a shootout with Ramirez fatally wounding him. Lorraine was unhurt.
Ramirez lived a block from the Mendoza family but they did not know each other.
“He pretty much made me the man I am today,” said son Frank about his father.. “His values are in me. I’ve placed those values into my kids, that’s why my kids are such wonderful people.”
“We saw the helicopters,” said Tony Gonzalez, a family friend, “and we heard all the commotion going on. We heard someone was holding a hostage. And then we found out it was actually at Frank’s [home.] This is so tragic. It’s tragic.”
Frank Sr. was just about to retire.
“My dad was a great man,” said a teary Frank Jr.
An autopsy that is scheduled to be released Monday and will likely confirm that Mendoza was killed by a deputy’s bullets.