An off-duty California police officer accidentally shot himself and killed a man while cleaning his gun last week, authorities said Wednesday.
Santa Cruz Police officer Francisco Villicana, 22, was cleaning his personal weapon at about 5:45 p.m. Friday when it discharged, the Salinas Police Department said.
He was shot in the hand. Another man, Luis Alfredo Ferro-Sanchez, 20, was shot in the upper body and was taken to a hospital where he later died.
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“While handling the firearm he accidentally discharged a single round striking himself in the hand, the bullet continued striking Ferro-Sanchez in the torso,” the department said in a statement.
Authorities did not say how the two men knew each other. Investigators believe the incident was an accident but will refer the case to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
Villicana was the one who reported the incident to police, authorities said. He has been with the Santa Cruz Police Department since February 2022, and was placed on leave while the case is reviewed, Fox San Francisco reported.
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“Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for the family and friends of Mr. Ferro-Sanchez,” said Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante. “We will support them in whatever way we can.”