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Memorial service Wednesday for slain Mendocino County deputy

  • A photograph of slain Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino is displayed during a press conference about the deputy's shooting at the Fort Bragg Police Department in Fort Bragg, Calif., on March 19, 2014. (Glenda Anderson / The Press Democrat)

A public memorial service for slain Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino will be held Wednesday at the Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg, the Sheriff's Office announced Friday as new details emerged about the deadly encounter with an Oregon man.

Hundreds are expected to attend Wednesday's 10 a.m. service for the veteran deputy, who was killed in a hail of gunfire by a suspect on a violent crime spree that began in Eugene, Ore., and ended 3 miles north of Fort Bragg.

Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten said law enforcement agencies near and far have contacted the office expressing a desire to attend and participate in a procession from Ukiah to Fort Bragg that will begin at 7 a.m.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Shot

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Del Fiorentino was gunned down on a narrow residential road in Cleone by Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, who also is suspected of killing Eugene resident George Bundy Wasson, 79, and setting his home on fire before carjacking a BMW and heading to California. Chaney forced the car's occupants into their trunk but they were able to escape and call police, according to multiple law enforcement accounts.

During his flight, Chaney exchanged gunfire with the owner of the Confusion Hill amusement center near Leggett in northern Mendocino County, then led law enforcement on a chase in which speeds reached 100 mph. As he headed toward Fort Bragg, law enforcement closed Highway 1 north of the city.

Chaney briefly gave his pursuers the slip in Cleone, and shot Del Fiorentino when their paths crossed on a single-lane road in a rural subdivision. Chaney was wearing a ballistic vest and was armed with two assault rifles, the Sheriff's Office said Friday. A shotgun was found in the BMW.

Chaney subsequently was killed in a gunbattle with a Fort Bragg Police Lt. John Naulty, who responded to the scene after hearing gunfire. Naulty was assisted by Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry, who arrived during the exchange of gunfire and provided cover for Naulty, according to a Sheriff's Office statement released Friday.

Mayberry had his gun out but did not fire it, he said Friday evening.

"When I got there, Lt. Naulty had established the threat and was engaging (Chaney). I couldn't see Chaney from where I was," he said.

Mayberry said Naulty, a veteran with more than 30 years of service, returned fire with a .223 caliber long rifle.


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