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Posted: 12/20/2003 2:06:32 PM EDT
Cop shooter kills self in custody
Search overlooks .45 semiautomatic

By ANGELICA MARTINEZ, Staff Writer

MUSCOY - A sheriff's deputy was shot and critically wounded by a parolee he stopped Friday morning who later killed himself with a hidden gun while being questioned at the sheriff's Central Station, officials said.

The horrific suicide was captured on videotape.

The deputy, Michael Parham, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga was recovering from surgery for two bullet wounds at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He is expected to survive, said sheriff's deputies who were at his bedside Friday.

The shooter, 47-year-old Ricardo Alfonso Cerna of San Bernardino, used the same gun he fired at the deputy to kill himself while he sat alone in an interrogation room at the sheriff's Central Station in San Bernardino.

The man's suicide and how the gun was missed during his arrest is under investigation by the sheriff's Internal Affairs division.

"I don't know how that happened, but it happened," sheriff's Lt. Rick Carr said. "It's obviously a large mistake, but unfortunately it happened. San Bernardino (County) sheriffs and police searched (the man) and at that point the weapon was missed."

Cerna may not have had much to live for.

Two law-enforcement sources confirmed that he was a paroled felon facing a third strike when Parham tried to pull him over on West Adams Street near California Street at 9:30 a.m.

Witnesses and sheriff's officials described the shooting. They said after a brief pursuit, the man drove up the curb in a white Datsun, stopped, jumped out and fired at Parham with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

One of the shots hit the hood of the patrol car before Parham could get out or draw his weapon. The second broke Parham's windshield and struck him in the chest.

His bulletproof vest stopped that bullet, but a third fired from the driver's side door went through his body.

A woman whose house faces the street saw the shooting as it unfolded.

"He just fired straight at him and the deputy didn't even have a chance to get out of his car," said the woman, who didn't want to be identified.

"He ran around the car and kept shooting at him," she said.

She and a friend watched from a window as the man ran through their yard toward their back door.

"He tried to open it and thank God I locked it," the woman said.

Both women, one carrying a 2-month-old girl, ran out the front door away from the man.

They approached Parham to see how he was doing.

"He was trembling and he looked yellow and there's was blood everywhere," the woman said.

Parham called for help on his radio. Sheriff's deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and San Bernardino police officers rushed to his aid.

A helicopter circled above in search of Cerna, who was running and was spotted by residents a few blocks from the shooting.

Cerna tried to buy a shirt from a passerby and then picked up a rake and tried to blend in as a resident from the block, Carr said.

However, witnesses identified the man as being the shooter, officials said.

It was not immediately known why Parham pulled the man over. The Datsun was registered in Van Nuys and had not been reported stolen, Carr said.

San Bernardino police officers arrested Cerna and handed him over to deputies, sheriff's Sgt. Dave Caddel said.

Cerna was patted down by police officers, but it is unclear whether he was also searched by deputies, Carr said.

At the sheriff's station on Third Street, detectives took Cerna's handcuffs off and seated him in an interrogation room where a video camera was recording the events.

The videotape was shown to reporters Friday. Photographers were not allowed to copy it.

Sheriff's homicide Sgt. Bobby Dean was just outside the door of the interview room with his back turned before Cerna put the gun to his left temple and fired a single shot.

The 13-minute tape, recorded at 10:34 a.m., shows Cerna taking a sip of water, shaking, sighing, then pulling the gun from his waistband and putting it to his head.

He pulled the trigger and his body slumped backward.

Coroner's officials used Cerna's fingerprints to identify him.

After the deputy was shot, about 450 elementary school students at California School were locked down inside their classrooms. None of them were hurt.

Principal Manuel Salinas was outside his office when the shots were fired.

"We've been trained. When we heard the shots, we just went immediately into lockdown. We used a PA system and told all the classrooms to stay inside. Then we let the parents know," Salinas said.

Parham has been a patrol deputy since April this year. He was hired in April 1998 and worked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga prior to patrol, said Cindy Beavers. Staff Writer Joe Nelson contributed to this report.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 2:17:45 PM EDT
PICTURES? video? BISHOP
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 2:39:28 PM EDT
Have to admit Tac that's different! Can't help feeling something is missing from this story but seeing what he did, I'm afraid I don't really care. Tj
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 3:15:27 PM EDT
I want to know what sort of concealment holster he was using! Bet the manufacturer wishes that he could use this as an endorsement!
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 3:53:09 PM EDT
Wow. sounds like SBPD ASSumed the guy had tossed the gun. Then SBSO ASSumed SBPD had searched the guy. Then SBSO Investigations ASSumed SBSO had searched the guy. Fuckups all around. You never accept custody of someone elses arrest without doing your own search. As for the "holster" the BG was using. He probubly just shoved it into his underwear. Guys are reluctant to grab another guys privates. Getting cops to do a good grasping hand search of the groin area is always a problem. A good pat down search for weapons should leave the BG questioning his sexuality.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:33:25 PM EDT
Video captures shooter's suicide with hidden gun By ANGELICA MARTINEZ and BRETT K. SNOW Staff Writers SAN BERNARDINO - Appearing calm, the man who shot Deputy Michael Parham sat in a small gray interview room for 13 minutes before he shot himself in the head with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Ricardo Alfonso Cerna, 47, of San Bernardino was videotaped inside interview room No. 1 at the sheriff's Central Station on Third Street an hour after he fired several shots at Parham. The video was shown to reporters to dispel any rumors involving the man's death, Undersheriff Bob Peppler said. The following is a description of the video tape. Cerna was walked into the room by homicide Sgt. Bobby Dean and another investigator at 10:34 a.m. Friday. His handcuffs were removed and he was seated in an orange chair. He didn't say much. When he spoke, he spoke in Spanish and showed little emotion. Without moving much, Cerna leaned forward onto a gray counter, the only other item in the room besides the chair, and rested his head on his right arm. Dean asked Cerna for his wallet. There was no identification inside. Minutes passed while Dean, on a cell phone, asked for a Spanish translator to help in the investigation. It would be an hour before a translator could get there, Dean said in the video. Meanwhile, Cerna, with dark, disheveled hair, waited. He was wearing a black screen-printed T-shirt with khaki pants. After searching through the wallet, Dean asked Cerna in Spanish a second time if he wanted coffee or a Pepsi. Cerna said, "A little bit of water, please." An inconspicuous camera recorded the two in silence for a few moments and several microphones inside the room recorded their brief conversation. Dean called for coffee and water and waited with Cerna until 10:42 a.m. Cerna was then escorted to a separate room down the hall, about 150 yards away, without handcuffs and with a loaded handgun the deputies didn't know about. He left the room with Dean and another investigator to have his fingerprints scanned. The live scan machine wasn't working, said Lt. Rick Roper, and Cerna was returned to the room. Soon after the gunman sat down, he was handed a bottle of water. He opened the bottle and started drinking big gulps. Dean was standing outside the room with his back to Cerna with the door open. With a couple of big breaths between his drinks, and a slight sudden shaking in his arms, Cerna looked in Dean's direction and lifted his shirt. Seconds after he drank the water, Cerna appeared to be building the confidence to take his own life. He pulled a black .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun from his waistband, looked at it for just a second or two and pointed it at his left temple. At 10:47, a single shot rang out. Cerna's body lifted and fell backward onto the chair. Blood gushed from the side of his head as his body stopped moving. Dean rushed into the room and yelled "Oh, (expletive)!"
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:41:42 PM EDT
I'm just relieved the felon shot himself instead of another LEO.... gwen in l.a.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 5:05:30 PM EDT
I think this video would be worth watching
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 5:48:15 PM EDT
Man! How did the police miss a .45 caliber handgun? I bet the deputy was crapping his pants after he thought through every thing he did in that room while the perp was armed. Pretty lucky the perp didn't decide to shoot more police.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 6:00:15 PM EDT
They did not miss the pistol. They slipped it to him, told him he had one shot and to make the most of it. Then they went for a cup of coffee. Bang!! Problem solved. Call the POS's family in to clean up the mess.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 4:35:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Confusion: They did not miss the pistol. They slipped it to him, told him he had one shot and to make the most of it. Then they went for a cup of coffee. Bang!! Problem solved. Call the POS's family in to clean up the mess.
View Quote
You've been wathcing TV too much.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 4:44:57 AM EDT
"Oh, (expletive)!" is an understatement Deputy Fife would be proud.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 5:40:31 AM EDT
He was an ex-con, he hid the gun in a stinky hinny holster![puke]
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