Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Sheriff's deputy suspected of murder held on $4-million bail

November 15, 2012 |  6:40 am

A veteran L.A. County sheriff's deputy arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a man while off-duty was being held Thursday on $4-million bail.

Francisco Gamez, 41, has been with the department for 17 years and was last working as a station detective in West Hollywood.

Law enforcement sources told The Times the deputy’s son got into a dispute with another person, and the son called his father to the scene. The deputy allegedly drove up soon after and exchanged words before opening fire from inside his car, striking one man, the sources said.

He then allegedly drove a short distance before shooting at a second person, added the sources, who asked for anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

That person was not injured, according to authorities.

The other victim, Armondo Casillas, 38, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the chest just before midnight.

In August, a person who identified himself as the victim's brother commented on the Los Angeles Times' website that he suspected a deputy was responsible.

“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.”

The person who wrote the comment could not be reached Wednesday evening.

At the time of the killing, authorities said the victim got into an argument with an unknown person. At some point, the other person left the area only to return and shoot Casillas, authorities said then. Now they are saying the shooter was not the same person who initially got into the argument.

LAPD officers arrested Gamez on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was booked into the LAPD's 77th Street station Wednesday in lieu of $4-million bail, officials said. He has not been charged.

Casillas’ sister said the family was grateful for the arrest, but they were not prepared to discuss the events that led to the fatal shooting.

In a statement, Sheriff Lee Baca called the attack “deeply disturbing.”


Increased Rose Bowl security planned for USC-UCLA game

No charges expected in probes of 'Modern Family' actress, mother

MTV: Santa Monica Airport crowd got too large to continue concert

-- Robert Faturechi, Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein