Arthur Paul Parga, a Merced native, was named outstanding officer in his police academy graduating class.
Parga died in the line of duty Friday, Jan. 22, 1993, while on the job as a member of Stockton Police Department’s special weapons and tactical unit that was assisting CRACNET a countywide narcotics task force, in serving a search warrant.
He and the man believed to have shot him, 63-year-old Manuel Medina Ramirez, were killed as drug agents raided a residence early Friday. Parga was shot fatally in the head and leg during an exchange of gunfire as he and other officers tried to serve a search warrant shortly after 2 a.m.
“SWAT members entered the house and were confronted by a resident of the house,” a police spokesman said.
“This subject was armed and shot one of the officers, fatally wounding the officer. Another officer confronted the subject, who was still armed, and shot the subject.”
The killings occurred in a north Stockton neighborhood of well-kept, fairly new single-family homes. A neighbor said she had seen no sign of drug dealing but often heard gunfire in the area at night.
The raid on the house was part of an investigation into marijuana trafficking.
Parga had been on the Stockton police force for 3 1/2 years and previously was a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy from January 1984 to August 1989. While working at the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department, he led the investigation of the notorious “freeway rapist” and was responsible for his arrest.
Parga grew up in Merced County, received an associate of science degree from Merced College before earning an administration-of-justice degree from San Jose State University in 1984.
Stockton Police Chief Lucian Neely, wiping tears from his eyes, at Parga’s funeral offered some remembrances and named Parga Stockton’s Officer of the Year. “Art was an architect designing the future of the Stockton Police Department,” Neely said. “He will be missed.”
Stockton police Capt. David Swim said Parga’s name, etched in the granite memorial, means “his memory will be with us in the line of duty. He made the ultimate sacrifice.” Swim urged family and friends to remember Parga’s “goodness, kindness… his courage.” He added, “We share your grief, anger and pain.”
Deputy Chief of Operations Ed Chavez said Parga’s death, the first for a police officer in the line of duty since Timothy White was killed in 1990, has shaken the department.
“I can tell you it’s a time of extreme difficulty and solace in this department,” Chavez said. “Art was a very professional officer and well-liked by everybody who knew him.”
Parga was a member of the National Association of Field Training Officers.
Parga, 31, was survived by his pregnant wife, Lisa Marie, and a 5-year-old son, Arthur. Trust funds for his family have been established at Union Safe Deposit Bank, 5555 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton, CA 95207, and at Bank of America, 1546 St. Marks Plaza, Stockton, CA 95207.