On the afternoon of Monday, May 31, 2021, the Memorial Day holiday, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies were conducting extra patrol for off-highway vehicle violations in the desert area north of Highway 62 and west of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. At approximately 2:00pm deputies attempted a vehicle stop on a motorcyclist near Paxton Road and Imperial Drive. The rider fled on the motorcycle, leading deputies on a pursuit that ended near Dumosa Avenue and Sunnyslope Drive, where they found the motorcycle abandoned. Deputies approached the motorcycle, not realizing they were walking into an ambush. “The (motorcycle) rider started firing at the responding deputies. One of our deputies was struck by the gunfire,” reported San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon. Deputies returned fire and the suspect died at the scene. The Sheriff’s Department did not immediately release the name of the suspect.
Sergeant Dominic Vaca was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where despite all lifesaving measures, “…the gunshot wound he sustained earlier today was too severe for him to overcome,” Sheriff McMahon said in a video posted to social media Monday evening. Our prayers are with him and his family as we all mourn this difficult time.”
Sergeant Dominic Vaca, age 43, was a 17 year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
At approximately 9:45am on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Stockton Police Officer Jimmy Inn responded to a disturbance call in the 4400 block of La Cresta Way. The caller reported hearing screaming, saw a woman with a ripped shirt who was bleeding, and appeared to have been assaulted. Shortly after arriving on scene, Officer Inn was in front of the residence when he was shot by the suspect. Another Uniformed Stockton Police Officer arrived on scene and fired his duty weapon at the suspect. The suspect briefly entered his home and returned moments later holding a young child. The suspect began to strangle the child and refused to comply with the officer’s commands. A community member tackled the suspect and as the officer approached, the officer discharged his duty weapon, striking the suspect.
Stockton Police Officer Jimmy Inn was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The suspect was also transported to an area hospital and also died from his injuries.
Officer Jimmy Inn, age 30, was hired by the Stockton Police Department in December 2015 and was currently assigned to the Field Operations Division. He was also a member of the SPD Honor Guard. Officer Inn is survived by his wife, Tela, who is also a Stockton Police Officer, a 7-month-old son, a 12-year-old stepdaughter, and a 14-year-old stepson.
At approximately 5:00pm on Monday, May 10, 2021, six SLOPD officers were serving a search warrant for possible stolen property related to a series of recent commercial burglaries. The officers approached the suspect’s apartment and provided “knock and notice” identifying themselves as law enforcement as required by California Penal Code 844. After an extended period of time and having received no response, they forced entry. The suspect, Edward Zamora Giron, age 37, was lying in wait and immediately opened fire on the officers from inside the apartment. Officers returned fire, but tragically two officers were shot during the exchange of gunfire and Detective Luca Benedetti, age 37, was killed. Detective Steve Orozco was transported to Sierra Vista Hospital where he was treated and released. The suspect was later found deceased inside the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound along with injuries from the officers’ return fire.
Detective Benedetti is survived by his wife and two young children. He joined the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 2012 and before that served for four years with the Atascadero Police Department. He is remembered as, “a dedicated officer, a talented detective, a proud member of the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team, and most importantly, a loving husband and father.”
On the evening of February 26, 2021, Officer Jose Anzora of the Los Angeles Police Department was struck by a car while directing traffic on foot at the scene of vehicle collision near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Woodlawn Avenue. Officer Anzora was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, where he remained until his passing on March 3rd. The driver who struck Anzora remained on scene and cooperated with the investigation.
Officer Anzora, age 31, began protecting and serving the people of Los Angeles in 2011, most recently in Newton Area, where he spent the majority of his career. He is survived by his wife, Heather, his mother, and extended family.
On December 28, 2020, Fresno Police Officer Angel DeLaFuente passed away from complications related to the COVID-19 virus.
Officer DeLaFuente was a 20-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department. Throughout most of his career he was assigned to the Southeast district of the City of Fresno serving the community as a uniformed patrol officer, District Crime Suppression Team member, and Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) member. In addition to an exemplary career in law enforcement, Officer DeLaFuente was a U.S. Army veteran. Reflecting on the loss of Officer DeLaFuente, Chief Andy Hall said, “Angel is a prince among men. He started his life as a soldier serving his country and later served his community, he’s always felt that need to serve his fellow mankind.”
At the time Officer DeLaFuente contracted COVID-19, several Fresno Police Officers tested positive for the virus, including another Southeast patrol officer who worked the same shift as Officer DeLaFuente.
Officer DeLaFuente, age 49, is survived by his wife and four children.
On Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 8:58 AM, Deputy Thomas J. Albanese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was on patrol on his department motorcycle traveling northbound on Paramount Blvd., approaching Del Amo in the city of Lakewood, when he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle ahead of him. As Deputy Albanese entered the intersection, he was struck by a sedan traveling westbound on Del Amo Boulevard. The force of the collision was extreme and Deputy Albanese died instantly.
Deputy Albanese was a seven-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He started his career as a Security Assistant in 2013 in the Aero Bureau. In 2015, he took an oath of office to serve his duties as a peace officer faithfully and was assigned to Men’s Central Jail. He went to patrol at Transit Services Bureau and then transferred to Lakewood Station as a Field Training Officer. Deputy Albanese’s last assignment was as a Pico Rivera Station Motor Deputy but was working overtime at the Lakewood Station when the tragic accident occurred. Deputy Albanese was also a highly decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps, serving from March 2001 through March 2010, which included four tours of duty in Iraq.
Deputy Thomas Albanese, age 41, is survived by his wife of 12 years, Erica, and his two young boys.
At 10:07 p.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Deputies observed an occupied vehicle in a parking lot near Arden Way and Avondale Avenue that matched the description of a vehicle involved in a burglary series. Deputies initiated contact with the single occupant of the vehicle and were able to identify the subject as being on active parole. The subject became uncooperative and fled in his vehicle when deputies attempted to search the vehicle. A short pursuit ensued that terminated inside of the Cal Expo Fairgrounds Complex when the suspect vehicle became disabled after striking a curb. Multiple patrol units arrived on scene to assist the initial deputies. Deputies gave several commands for the suspect to exit his vehicle and he refused. Deputies deployed less-lethal “bean bag” rounds into the suspect vehicle’s back window in an attempt to see inside. A K-9 handler deployed his K-9 into the back window of the vehicle at which time several shots were fired from within the vehicle. Two deputies and the canine were struck by the suspect’s gunfire. Multiple deputies returned fire.
The wounded officers were transported by deputies in patrol units to an area hospital. Deputy Adam Gibson, age 31 and a 6-year veteran of the department, was pronounced deceased at the hospital. A second deputy was stabilized and transported to a trauma center for further treatment. K-9 Riley died at the scene. The sole occupant of the suspect vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene by fire personnel.
Deputy Adam Gibson is survived by his wife Rachel Gibson and their 9 month old child, his parents Doug and Sandee Gibson, and several siblings.
Deputy Gibson was a United States Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Since joining the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office in 2014, he worked in corrections, patrol, and most recently as a canine handler. Deputy Gibson received the Sheriff’s Office Bronze Star for Bravery and a Major Incident Ribbon in 2018.
A memorial fund has been established through the CAHP Credit Union. Donations can be made online: https://cahpcu.org/DeputyAdamGibsonMemorialFund …or checks can be mailed to:
Deputy Adam Gibson Memorial Fund
PO Box 276507
Sacramento, CA 95827
Detective Jose Cruz Mora of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office passed away on September 7, 2020 after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Immediately prior to his death, Detective Mora had been working two separate investigations, a homicide and a kidnapping, which involved interviewing many witnesses, serving warrants, and traveling to Merced and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While in Oklahoma City on August 17, 2020, Detective Mora began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. On August 21, 2020, Detective Mora was admitted to Clovis Community Hospital, where he tested positive for the virus. He remained hospitalized until succumbing to the illness on September 7, 2020.
Detective Mora, age 44, was a 16-year veteran of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife and four children.
On Sunday, October 18, 2020, Sergeant Harry Cohen and his assigned deputies participated in a Quarterly Physical Fitness Qualification (PFQ) at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Bureau Fitness Training Facility. At approximately 1714 hours, prior to completion of the PFQ, Sergeant Cohen was observed by his deputies to be in distress, appearing to have collapsed. Deputies immediately began lifesaving measures and requested paramedics to the scene.
Sergeant Cohen was transported to Riverside University Health System Hospital via Sheriff’s helicopter. Despite heroic lifesaving efforts, Sergeant Cohen was pronounced deceased at 1815 hours. Based on autopsy results, the preliminary cause of death was a heart attack.
Sergeant Cohen was a 24 year veteran of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, having served most notably as a regional expert pertaining to Police K9 Tactics, dog behavior training, and the professional development of junior deputies and officers.
Sergeant Cohen, age 48, is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.
On November 23, 2020, at approximately 7:05 pm, Officer Andy Ornelas of the CHP Antelope Valley Area Office was responding to assist with a traffic collision on SR-14. While on his way to the scene, a motorist pulled from the right shoulder to make a U-turn directly in his path. Officer Ornelas’ motorcycle struck the other vehicle causing him to be thrown from his motorcycle. Officer Ornelas sustained multiple injuries and was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital in critical condition.
Despite significant life-saving efforts by medical personnel, on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, Officer Ornelas succumbed to his injuries.
Officer Ornelas, age 27, was a four-year veteran of the Department. He had been assigned to the Antelope Valley Area since December 2019. He followed in the footsteps of his mother, Kellie, who is a retired CHP officer from the same Antelope Valley Area office, and his father, Arturo, a motorcycle officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is survived by his wife, Taylor; a brother, Cody, who is a CHP officer assigned to the Central Los Angeles Area office; his sister, Nikki; and an uncle, retired CHP Captain Andreas Ornelas.
A memorial fund has been set up through the CAHP Credit Union. You can make donations on their website, or mail a check to:
Officer Andy Ornelas Memorial Fund
PO Box 276507
Sacramento, CA 95827