Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy Francisco Gamez, 41, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder for the drive-by shooting death of 38-year-old Armando Casillas on Father’s Day of this year, reports KTLA.com.
Gamez is a 17 year veteran with the department and was last working in the West Hollywood area. According to authorities, his son was in an altercation and called his father for assistance. Gamez, who lived approximately one block away, drove up and after exchanging words, opened fire from the car. A neighbor standing nearby was also shot, but not seriously injured. Casillas died at a hospital later that night from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Though Gamez’s identity was not immediately known, the victim’s family voiced concerns that the shooter was a member of law enforcement on an L.A. Times website:
“We think he is a L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF,” the comment stated. “The reason we think he is a Sheriff is that he shouted to my Brother “L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF WHERE YOU FROM” as if the sheriff was in a gang.”
Gamez was suspended from duty when the investigation began. On Wednesday, he was booked into LAPD 77th Street station in lieu of 4 million dollar bond.
According to KTLA, the victim’s family is still reeling from the discovery that a law enforcement officer would commit such a cold-blooded crime:
“It was very surprising to me,” Mary Casillas, the victim’s sister, said about learning a deputy had been arrested in the murder.
“Anybody that works in law enforcement is people who we’re supposed to trust, who work for us, for the community. It just makes me think very differently now.”
“We’re really sad about that. They’re supposed to protect the community and uphold the law, and to do that is just terrible,” Casillas’ brother, Joeseph Casillas, echoed.
Sheriff’s office spokesperson, Steve Whitmore, said that L.A. County Sherrif Lee Baca was “deeply concerned” over his deputy’s actions.
“It casts a pall over the scores and scores of deputy sheriffs that every day do their job,” Whitmore said.
Gamez has been stripped of all duties, but still has not been charged with a crime.
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