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Controversy is swirling around the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department regarding how it handled a hostage situation in Pico Rivera that has resulted in the death of resident Frank Mendoza and suspect Cedric Mendoza.
Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper was sent the following statement from officials with the LASD on Saturday night.
The statement reads:
On Saturday, August 2, 2014, at approximately 8:30 P.M., Chief William McSweeney, Detective Division, held a press conference to discuss the continued investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deputy-involved shooting that occurred in the 9000 block Rosehedge Drive, Pico Rivera. The following are statements made by Chief McSweeney during the press conference:
“I stand here today to present a series of events that occurred last night in Pico Rivera. An innocent man is dead, and so is a violent criminal. Four people, including a hostage, survived. But the central story is about tragedy and the grief of a family.
At about 5pm last night Sheriff’s Deputies and a Probation Officer went to a house in search of wanted Parolee, Cedric Ramirez. When Ramirez spotted the Officers, he ran from the residence. Neighboring patrol units were notified the parolee had fled into the neighborhood.
A short time later Deputies discovered Ramirez on the driveway of a nearby home. Ramirez saw the Deputies and immediately fired at them. A deputy returned fire and may have wounded him. Ramirez then ran behind a house and broke into the home through a rear window.
Pursuing Deputies, fearful the occupants would be harmed, went to the home’s front door and began evacuating the residents from the house. An adult and two children were rushed from the house when Ramirez appeared in an interior hallway and began shooting at the Deputies. The Deputies returned fire and then retreated to the front yard, seeking cover.
Within seconds of their exit, an adult male suddenly appeared in the front doorway. Believing the man was Ramirez, a deputy fired two shots at the man. The man dropped unconscious in the doorway and was subsequently recognized to be one of the residents. Preliminary information indicates those shots likely struck Mr. Frank Mendoza.
Within minutes, deputies commenced a dangerous recovery of Mr. Mendoza while the armed parolee remained inside the home with a hostage. Mr. Mendoza was taken to awaiting paramedics but they regrettably could not revive him. Ramirez remained armed and inside the house holding the hostage throughout the night. At 1:30 am, after hostage negotiators failed to convince the man to release the hostage and give himself up, a Sheriff’s special weapons team entered the house and rescued the hostage. In that process, Ramirez was shot by deputies. The hostage was not harmed, and no Deputies were injured. However, Ramirez died as a result of the gunshot wounds.
This incident was beyond tragic, and all of law enforcement grieves with the Mendoza family. We have made personal contact with the family, and have expressed our regret and sadness over these events.
This investigation continues, and every aspect of this incident will be assessed for compliance with the law and Department policy. Sheriff John Scott will conduct a follow up press conference as early as Monday afternoon once the Department obtains the results of the autopsy.”
There is no further information at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
Whenever an Officer-Involved Shooting occurs involving Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, and it results in a fatality of a suspect, multiple independent investigations immediately begin at the scene. These include separate investigations by the Offices of the L.A. Co. District Attorney and the L.A. Co. Coroner, in addition to Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Internal Affairs Bureau. Once concluded, every aspect of the shooting is reviewed by the Sheriff’s Executive Force Review Committee.”
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