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Sheriff’s deputy faces murder charges

By Edwin Folven, 11/15/2012

Defendant was last assigned to the West Hollywood Station

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A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was last assigned to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station was charged with murder on Nov. 15 for allegedly killing one of his neighbors in Sylmar last June while off duty.

Francisco Gamez, 41, faces one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, as well as one count of firing a gun from a vehicle. An arraignment was postponed until Dec. 10. He was last assigned to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s detective bureau, but had been on administrative leave since July 3.

Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division arrested Gamez at an undisclosed location on Nov. 14. He is charged with the June 17 murder of 38-year-old Sylmar resident, Armando Casillas, and shooting at another unidentified individual, who was not struck. Prior to the shooting, Gamez’s son and Casillas had reportedly been involved in an argument. The son allegedly called Gamez, who drove to the 14000 block of Beaver St. in Sylmar shortly after 10 p.m. and fired from his vehicle at Casillas and the second individual. Gamez and the victim reportedly lived one block apart.

Bystanders flagged down officers from the LAPD’s Mission Division and notified them about the shooting. Paramedics took Casillas to Providence Holy Cross Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said Gamez is a 17-year veteran of the department, and had worked at the West Hollywood Station for the past seven years. Whitmore said now that charges have been filed, the department would begin the process of firing the deputy.

“It’s a very sad day for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” Whitmore said. “We are deeply disturbed at what transpired. It is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s job to prevent crimes, not cause them. The sheriff acted quickly on July 3 to place him on leave, and termination is the next step.”

Gamez is currently being held on $4 million bail.

 

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