Oregon man's 450-mile crime spree ended with deputy's death

Authorities believe the man who gunned down a Mendocino County sheriff's deputy Wednesday left a 450-mile trail of violence and death that stretched from Eugene, Ore., to the small California harbor town of Fort Bragg.

As a fuller picture began to emerge Thursday of the scope of the crime spree, honors flowed in for Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino, who died in a spray of gunfire from an assault-style rifle just outside the town where he had served for 26 years.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Capitol flags to be flown at half staff, the Legislature convened in his memory and officials around the state and colleagues continued to offer testimonials.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Shot


"Ricky was a great guy. You never knew if he had a bad day because he was always smiling, always happy. . . . Not only a good cop, but a good person," said Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten.

The carnage began in Eugene, where authorities said Thursday that Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, is the suspect in the death of George Bundy Wasson, 79, whose body was found early Wednesday in the charred remains of his home near the University of Oregon. It marked the beginning of what authorities say was a 12-hour spree.

Wasson had been a professor in the school's Ethnic Studies Department, a former dean of students and a tribal elder with the Coquille tribe in North Bend, Ore., said Gordon Beetles, who is the Native American initiative director for the university.

Chaney was acquainted with family members of Wasson, whose home was deliberately set on fire, police said.

Public Information Director Melinda McLaughlin would not say what, if any evidence, tied Chaney to the 12:36 a.m. shooting and fire beyond his acquaintance with Wasson's family, but a police lieutenant told the Eugene Register-Guard that Chaney once had lived not far from Wasson.

Just 36 minutes after Wasson's body was found, authorities said, Chaney carjacked two men in Eugene, launching a flight south into California that ended about nine hours later when he shot and killed Del Fiorentino and was then killed in a shootout with a Fort Bragg police lieutenant.

The carjacking began when a masked man confronted two Eugene men at 1:12 a.m. and forced them at gunpoint into their car's trunk, Eugene police said.

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