Sheriff justifies Delhi shooting


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TheeBadOne
January 4, 2004, 01:43 PM
Merced County sheriff’s detectives found 29 shell casings from a high-powered rifle near a San Jose man shot to death by a deputy shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day.

Lamberto Herrera, 28, was fatally shot when he reportedly failed to put down the Remington 30-06 high-powered semi-automatic rifle when ordered by sheriff’s Deputy Todd Miller.

The Remington high-powered rifle has a range of about two miles.

The deputy, 28, is a four-year veteran of the sheriff’s department with previous law enforcement experience with another area agency.

Preliminary findings from an autopsy conducted Friday showed Herrera was shot three times, two times in the torso and once in the head, said Merced County Sheriff/Coroner Mark Pazin.

A toxicology report to the autopsy takes anywhere from four to six weeks to complete.

The toxicology portion of the autopsy is an analysis of body fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, semen and perspiration. The toxicology could indicate if drugs, alcohol, or poisons were present in the body.

Pazin, in a Friday news conference, said Miller was checking on loud shots coming from a residence in the 9500 block of Phelan Street in Delhi when the fatal shooting took place.

Confronting Herrera in the back yard of a blue stucco house at 9563 Phelan St., Miller ordered the suspect to put the weapon down, Pazin said.

When Herrera pointed the rifle at Miller and fired two times, the deputy reportedly returned fire with his department-issue AR-15, striking the victim who died at the scene.

Herrera was shot from a distance of about 20 feet, Pazin said.

Senovio Alvarez, a resident of Phelan Street who spoke no English, said he was with Herrera when the shooting occurred.

He said the deputy did not use the word “police” when he approached Herrera.

He said that he heard the deputy shouting in English but did not know what he was saying. “If he (Miller) was ordering him (Herrera) to put down his weapon we would not have understood him,” Alvarez said.

The word “police” would have brought an instant response whether in Spanish or English, he said.

Alvarez said that Herrera was a good friend and was visiting him for the new year.

Pazin said that while he does not know the exact “verbiage” used by the deputy when ordering Herrera to put down his weapon, he feels that the sight of a uniformed officer would have been enough for the victim to have put down the rifle.

But Alvarez said that because the deputy entered from the back of the property, the lighting was poor and the uniform was not visible.

The deputy was pointing a flashlight in front of him which was not enough to tell that he was the law, Alvarez said.

It was only after the shooting and the deputy spoke into his walkie talkie radio that Alvarez realized it was the law, he said.

Angelina Garcia, who operates a licensed child care center at 9563 Phelan St., said she had invited Alvarez’s family - they live two houses from Garcia - to come over to celebrate the new year.

While she did not know Herrera, he also was invited to the celebration, she said. There were about 30 people at the celebration, Pazin said.

According to Pazin, the shooting - the third recorded case of the year for the department - began at 12:11 a.m. when Miller called the dispatch center to report “shots being fired” at Phelan Street and Schendel Avenue.

Pazin said that Herrera had come from San Jose for a party and, a few minutes into the new year, he began shooting the high-powered big game rifle in the back yard of the Phelan Street house.

Hearing loud shots from the area, Miller confronted Herrera in the back yard of the house and ordered him to drop his weapon. Herrera then disappeared into the shadows, reappearing after a few moments.

He reportedly carried the rifle in front of him with both hands and pointed the rifle at the deputy, actually firing twice at Miller, who reportedly fired back, striking the victim three times.

But Alvarez stated that Herrera was holding the rifle with one hand and that he never fired at Miller.

However, Pazin noted that “there is one witness who saw it (shooting) happen and also heard Miller ordering the suspect to put down the weapon.

When shot, Herrera was wearing a black or dark blue warm-up suit, a red jacket, and hiking boots.

Pazin noted that the 29 shell casings found lying near Herrera shows that “there were 29 large projectiles flying through the area endangering people.

“For some reason people believe they can violate California law and also defy the law of gravity by firing their weapons indiscriminately into the air,” Pazin said.

The sheriff said that within the period of the fatal shooting two other residents in the south county area were being arrested on suspicion of firing a firearm in a negligent manner.

ARTICLE (http://www.mercedsun-star.com/news/newsview.asp?c=89128)

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QuickDraw
January 4, 2004, 06:14 PM
Herrera was shot three times, two times in the torso and once in the head,
Training,training,training.
I'm having a little trouble feeling sorry for this bonehead.

QuickDraw

Blackcloud6
January 4, 2004, 08:02 PM
When the man tells you to pu the gun down, you put the gun down.

If you live in the US, it might be prudent to learn to speak English.

Pilgrim
January 4, 2004, 10:57 PM
Thirty people at the party and no one was able to convince Lamberto that 'wha he wuz doin wuz estremely estupido.'?

Pilgrim

Dorian
January 5, 2004, 02:10 AM
If you live in the US, it might be prudent to learn to speak English.


I couldn't have said it better myself.

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