Mendocino County Sheriff Deputy, Ricky Del Fiorentino, 48, was shot and killed March 19th in a shootout following a police chase on U.S. Highway 1 near MacKerricher State Park.
The lone suspect apparently committed suicide, following a crime spree that spanned two states.
The suspect, identified as Ricardo Antonio Chaney of Oregon, was shot around noon March 19th, in the Cleone area, just north of Fort Bragg. Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman said Chaney had been on a crime spree that began in Oregon involving armed robbery, kidnapping and forcing victims into the trunk of a car.
Fiorentino’s patrol car was riddled with bullets and the 48-year-old deputy was pronounced dead at the scene, Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman said.
Chaney was found dead nearby a short while later after a second shootout with a Fort Bragg police lieutenant who heard the initial gunfire and responded to the scene. He had a gunshot wound to his leg from the second shootout, which became fatal.
Chaney is suspected in a crime spree that started early Wednesday with a reported armed robbery in Eugene in which he allegedly stole a black four-door BMW by forcing its occupants into the trunk. The occupants were later able to escape from the vehicle.
Allman said the Sheriff’s office received a call at 10:34 a.m. after a business owner fired shots at the suspect at Confusion Hill, a local landmark. Chaney apparently fled the scene and was spotted by sheriff’s deputies on Highway 1 at 11:38 a.m. He led deputies on a chase that exceeded 100 m.p.h. eventually eluding law enforcement.
During the ensuing manhunt, Deputy Del Fiorentino found Chaney’s vehicle on a dirt road. Chaney opened fire from an ambush position on Del Fiorentino’s car with an assault rifle, spraying it with bullets and killing the deputy.
Del Fiorentino had served with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Bragg Police Department for a total 26 years