Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Updated: Mendocino Deputy Killed in Ambush

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:38 AM

  • Mendocino Sheriff's Facebook page
The suspect believed to have killed a Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputy last week was released from an Oregon jail two weeks earlier.

According to an article by the Associated Press, Oregon police arrested Ricardo Antonio Chaney after they reported finding firearms, body armor and methamphetamine in his car. But, according to the report, the Lane County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges in the case, citing a lack of evidence, and released Chaney the day of his arrest. Two weeks later, Chaney was the prime suspect in a crime spree that ultimately left Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino and Chaney dead of gunshot wounds.

After initially reporting that Chaney's death appeared to have been a suicide, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman has since said its believed Chaney sustained the fatal gunshot wounds in a shootout with deputies. According to the Associated Press story, Chaney has also been named a suspect in the killing of 79-year-old George Bundy Wasson in Eugene.

A memorial service is scheduled to honor Del Fiorentino on Wednesday.


A crime spree that spanned much of the north coast Wednesday left two dead, including the suspect and a Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputy.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said it appears deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino, 48, was ambushed by Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 33, shortly before noon Monday. Allman said Del Fiorentino was searching for Chaney, the suspect in an armed robbery in Eugene, Ore. early Monday morning, when Chaney allegedly opened fire on his patrol car with an assault rifle.

Chaney is alleged to have traveled through Humboldt County in black BMW he stole from Eugene, Ore., shooting at a Confusion Hill business owner before fleeing into Mendocino County. He is alleged to have shot Del Fiorentino just north of Fort Bragg. Chaney was wounded by police a short time later and is believed to have later committed suicide as police closed in, though at least one report has indicated he was killed by police.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Del Fiorentino had been a cop since 1988, when he became a sheriff’s deputy in Mendocino. He moved to the Fort Bragg Police Department in 1990, but rejoined the sheriff’s office in 2000 and has worked there since.

A post on the Mendocino Sheriff’s Facebook page Wednesday noting Del Fiorentino’s death quickly garnered dozens of heartfelt comments from fellow deputies and community members, who shared memories and prayers.

“Thank you so much for being my partner, a friend, a solid father and a man of your word,” wrote Kevin Cline. “You are a True Warrior and your family, friends, MCSO and this community will miss you, your service your big smile and that wonderful laugh. God Bless My Brother.”

The Lost Coast Outpost and the Times-Standard have also been covering the story today.
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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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