Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Ira Essoe, 69, died February 4th when he succumbed to complications of gunshot wounds sustained on November 6, 1980.

He and his partner, who were both in plain clothes, had gone to the Mall of Orange to collect bail on a warrant. When they arrived at the location, they observed three men breaking into a car in the mall’s parking lot.

Sergeant Essoe approached one side of the car as his partner approached the other. One of the subjects was able to disarm Sergeant Essoe’s partner at gunpoint, and ordered him to lay on the ground. As Sergeant Essoe attempted to draw his weapon, all three suspects opened fire on him, striking him twice.

Sergeant Essoe remained in poor health and passed away from direct complications of the wounds on February 4, 2010.

Two of them were apprehended following a high speed pursuit a short time later. The third was later linked to the crime while in federal prison for bank robbery. All three were sentenced to eight to 18 years in prison for the original shooting/attempted murder. In 2010 The Orange County District Attorney charged the men with murder and they are in custody facing 25 years to life with the subsequent death of the officer. In response to an appeal of a preliminary ruling, the California Court of Appeals ruled that based on the laws governing the crime in 1980, the suspects could not be charged for his murder. They were released from custody after one year.

Sergeant Essoe had served with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three children