Sheriff: Man killed by deputies in own home after neighbor’s burglary call in Riverside County

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sheriff: Man shot in own home after burglary call

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Riverside County sheriff’s deputies who killed a man in his home thought they were confronting a burglary suspect, a homicide detective said Thursday.

Reports showed at least 17 shots were fired in the house where Jose Ruiz was killed on Feb. 8.

Homicide Lt. Terry Hudson told The Associated Press a handgun was found in the possession of Ruiz but declined to say if it had been fired during the confrontation. No deputies were hurt.

Cynthia Francia claimed her husband locked himself out of the home where five children also live and had gone in through the back before the shooting.

“I can’t really say I’m angry. I’m just angry I can’t get the facts,” Francia told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “I know I have to bury my husband and can’t see him because of what they did to him.”

Francia said her 13-year-old daughter heard the gunshots that killed her stepfather after she was removed from the home by deputies.

Deputies went to the home shortly before 3 p.m. after a neighbor reported a possible burglary, Hudson said.

They reported finding an open, damaged garage door on the side of the house and suspected the burglar had forced his way inside, Hudson said.

Deputies entered the home through the garage with their guns drawn and found the 13-year-old, who apparently was off school that day.

The deputies discovered Ruiz hiding in a bedroom and shot him when he physically resisted, Hudson said. Ruiz died at the scene.

Hudson declined to provide specifics about the shooting but said deputies were in full uniform and had repeatedly identified themselves.

Francia said Ruiz had left her a message earlier in the day saying he was unable to get into the home. She told investigators he lost the keys.

Francia said her husband lived at the home, but the sheriff’s office only acknowledged he lived there at one time.

“There may have been a slight separation. … He may have not been living there full-time,” Hudson said.

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