Account of Wednesday's incident in Mendocino County
The following is from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:
On Wednesday, at 10:34 a.m. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Confusion Hill business located at 75001 North Highway 1 in Piercy, California regarding an attempted murder.
Responding Deputies were notified the suspect, described as a white male adult, shot at the business owner with a double barrel shotgun before fleeing southbound on Highway 101 in a vehicle. The vehicle was described as being a black Mazda or BMW 4-door sedan with tinted windows.
Deputies responded northbound on Highway 101 from Leggett and Willits while Deputies responded northbound on Highway 1 from Fort Bragg.
As Deputies were searching for the suspect’s vehicle a Deputy was able to interview the business owner as to the circumstances of the shooting.
It was determined the business owner witnessed the suspect urinating outside the back of the business which prompted a verbal confrontation. The suspect was told he needed to leave the property because of his actions and the business owner entered the business.
Shortly thereafter the business owner saw the suspect walking towards the business in possession of something in his hand, causing the business owner to fear for his safety.
The suspect entered the business and the business owner struck him with an expandable baton causing the suspect to discharge a double barrel shotgun, he was holding, into the floor.
The business owner fled to a nearby room as the suspect discharged the shotgun at him, causing minor injuries from broken glass, and then he fled to a black BMW sedan parked outside the business.
As the suspect was leaving, the business owner exited the business and shot one time at the suspect’s vehicle with a pistol he obtained from inside the business.
At 11:35 a.m. Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino and Sheriff’s Lieutenant Greg Stefani, observed a black BMW sedan traveling southbound near mile post marker 72 on Highway 1.
The BMW suddenly accelerated to a high rate of speed and was observed driving in a reckless manner in an obvious attempt to flee from Lieutenant Stefani who was behind the BMW at that time. A pursuit ensued with Lieutenant Stefani losing sight of the BMW several times.
Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department staged at mile post marker 63.5 and prepared to deploy a spike-strip to disable the BMW.
The BMW never reached this location and it was suspected the vehicle had turned off onto a surface road north of their location.
Lieutenant Stefani, Deputy Del Fiorentino and Fort Bragg Police Department Officers began an area search by vehicle and sometime thereafter were searching the Ward Avenue subdivision in Celone located north of Fort Bragg.
At 11:51 a.m. an “11-99” (officer needs assistance) radio transmission was made with the notification that shots had been fired.
Initial investigations suggest Deputy Del Fiorentino was searching the 24000 block of Pine Street in the subdivision when he encountered the BMW traveling or parked facing towards the front of Deputy Del Fiorentino’s patrol vehicle from a short distance.
The suspect, Ricardo Antonio Chaney, shot into the patrol vehicle multiple times striking and killing Deputy Del Fiorentino.
Fort Bragg Police Lieutenant John Naulty drove up behind Deputy Del Fiorentino’s patrol vehicle shortly after the shooting. Lieutenant Naulty engaged Chaney in a gun battle as Chaney was standing near Deputy Del Fiorentino’s patrol vehicle.
During the course of the gun battle Chaney began to disappear into a bushy area beside a residence along the roadway.
As the gun battle continued Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry drove up behind Lieutenant Naulty’s patrol vehicle and provided cover as the pair began to retreat to a safer position as Chaney was armed with an assault rifle.
A perimeter was established with several different local law enforcement agencies while further resources were being obtained to conduct a through search of the area for Chaney and a possible second suspect seen running from the shooting scene.
Members from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team arrived sometime thereafter and deployed to the shooting scene.
During a search of the scene Chaney was located a short distance away in the side yard of the residence behind the brush line near Deputy Del Fiorentino’s patrol vehicle.
Chaney was pronounced dead from what appeared to be 2 separate gunshot wounds. It was noted that Chaney was wearing a military style ballistic vest and was in possession of 2 assault rifles. A double barreled shotgun was located inside of the BMW which had been reported stolen in Eugene, Oregon.
Information developed by investigators showed Chaney was wanted in connection with the stolen BMW and the kidnapping of 2 individuals. Chaney was also reportedly a person of interest in a recent homicide in Oregon. All cases are being investigated by the Eugene Police Department.
The possible second suspect was located hiding inside of a pump house building and was determined to be an innocent bystander who had ran from the scene for his own safety.
It was then determined Chaney was the only suspect connected to the shooting incident.
At the request of the Sheriff’s Office the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office assumed investigative control of the shooting incident per the county’s Officer Involved Fatal Incident protocol.
All future media inquires into the investigation should be directed to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office by calling 707-463-4211.
Deputy Del Fiorentino was a 26-year veteran of law enforcement spending 10-years with the Fort Bragg Police Department and 16-years with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office during his career.
A public memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday March 26, 2014 at 1000 hours at a location to be determined in Fort Bragg, California.