Raised in Napa, Del Fiorentino excelled in football and wrestling at Napa High School. He earned a wrestling scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.

Del Fiorentino joined the Sheriff's Office in 1988 as a deputy and went to the Fort Bragg Police Department two years later. In 2000, he returned to the Sheriff's Office, Allman said.

"He was one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet," Fort Bragg resident Charlene Leonard said. "He'd always smile."

An avid hunter and angler, Del Fiorentino gave fishing clinics for Fort Bragg youth, Colin said.

Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner called Del Fiorentino's death "senseless," and said the community is grieving.

"We're a small community that depends on each other," he said. "Ricky was doing his part. He was out there on the front lines protecting us. It makes no sense."

Staff Writer Glenda Anderson contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Matt Brown at 521-5206 or matt.brown@pressdemocrat.com.