Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy apparently ignored warning before deadly eviction shooting, report says

1:31 AM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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MODESTO, CA - Several warnings that went ignored, communication problems and departmental failures may have contributed to the deaths of a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy and locksmith serving an eviction notice last April.

The new information was released in a critical incident review on Friday night by the sheriff's office.

Suspect James Ferrario, 32, gunned down Deputy Robert Paris and Locksmith Glendon Engert during Ferrario's eviction. Ferrario later shot himself and set the building on fire.

The independent report said "the deputies and sergeant did not effectively react to the verbal and written warnings."

A day before the eviction, Paris was warned of possible guns and bombs. The clerk added "be very cautious" and Paris replied "whatever."

The warnings were repeated in an eviction schedule given to Paris.

The fire destroyed most of the eviction packet, but charred documents show additional warnings of possible violence and "multiple guns, M16 type."

The report also reveals Ferrario had 30 firearms and the thousands of rounds of ammunition. According to the report, "indications were he was 'lying-in-wait' for the deputies."

Once Paris, his partner and Engert arrived at Ferrario's home, they quickly determined the home was vacant. When Engert started drilling through the lock on the front door, Engert said, "I think someone's in there."

The report finds "the deputies and locksmith waited approximately 30 seconds and not hearing further noise, the locksmith resumed drilling. Approximately 15 seconds later, gunfire erupted through the front door."

The report also indicates supervisors failed to address concerns about Paris' safety procedures.

Ferrario was known as a "paranoid recluse" and exhibited "vigilante behavior" in his neighborhood. He'd had nearly a dozen runs in with police, which included arrests, but none after 2008.

Neighbors said he continued to carry firearms on personal patrols in what appeared to be "paramilitary activity;" that strange behavior was never reported to police.

The findings also indicate if Ferrario's criminal and firearms history had been checked, it would have shown he'd had multiple arrests and five registered handguns. In addition, if either Paris or his partner had called the eviction agent to corroborate the clerk's warnings, they may have reconsidered their approach and strategies.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson stresses no one should lose sight of the fact that Paris made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.


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