As the funeral for a slain sheriff’s deputy nears, details on the plans his killer had for law enforcement are emerging.
The memorial for Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Paris is scheduled for noon Friday at Big Valley Grace Community Church at 4040 Tully Rd. in Modesto. There will be a procession from the church to Lakewood Memorial Park, located at 900 Santa Fe Ave. in Hughson, where a graveside service is scheduled.
Deputy Paris, 53, and locksmith Glendon Engert, 35, were gunned down Thursday morning while trying to serve an eviction notice at a residence on Chrysler Drive in Modesto. The fatal ambush prompted an 11-hour standoff with the shooter, identified by the Modesto Police Department as 45-year-old Jim Richard Ferrario. The standoff came to a fiery end when the fourplex Ferrario was holed up inside went up in flames.
Ferrario’s body was pulled from the charred rubble. The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office has ruled the cause of death for Ferrario to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Modesto Police Department has been handling the investigation and released information Tuesday indicating Ferrario “was planning a fatal confrontation with law enforcement,” Modesto Police Lt. Rick Armendariz said.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department was in the process of formally evicting Ferrario from the residence and had posted a notice of eviction five days prior to the shooting on Ferrario’s front door. The notice informed Ferrario that deputies would be returning on April 12.
Ferrario was found in the bathroom of his residence with a stockpile of weapons and ammunition. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, a gas mask, makeshift ballistic protective padding strapped around his extremities, a nylon “police style” duty belt with holstered guns on each side of his body, cargo pants filled with ammunition, and had a tear gas canister strapped to his leg.
Within arm’s reach of Ferrario, detectives discovered 22 firearms, of which 17 were rifles and shotguns, as well as an SKS and an M-16. There were also over 500 rounds of ammunition and a police scanner. In addition, Ferrario had a supply of several gallons of water.
“All of this suggests Ferrario was prepared for a long term and violent standoff with police,” Armendariz said.
Detectives believe Ferrario used one of the recovered high powered assault rifles to kill Paris and Engert.
During the standoff, Ferrario barricaded his windows with furniture and gained access into the other three residences within the fourplex, which allowed him to move freely throughout the complex. Ferrario also had several surveillance cameras mounted outside of his complex, allowing him to monitor the front door and the area surrounding his residence, Armendariz said.
Ferrario had very little contact with law enforcement prior to this incident, Armendariz said. The extent of his law enforcement contact with police was for minor traffic citations and a prior verbal dispute with a neighbor.
“The Modesto Police Department had no information which would lead to any safety concerns regarding Ferrario or any reports of potential violence,” Armendariz said.
The fire at the fourplex broke out at 9:45 p.m. and because of safety concerns for the fire fighters, the fire was allowed to burn largely unchecked. Investigators from the U.S. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Modesto Fire Department have ruled out the possibility of the fire being caused by an electrical malfunction or by a build-up of natural gas. Two of the remaining possibilities are that either Ferrario started the fire or the fire was unintentionally started by law enforcement, during the deployment of tear gas and flash-bang devices.
Due to the structure of the complex being unstable, plans have been made to demolish it sometime this week.
“This tragic event underscores the unpredictable nature of law enforcement and the potential for violence faced by all peace officers daily,” Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden said. “Even the most routine tasks can turn deadly, as shown by this incident. From all evidence, it appears Ferrario planned on engaging in a violent confrontation with the deputies who appeared that day. Our department grieves the loss of Deputy Paris and Mr. Engert and our hearts go out to their families.”
Funeral services for Engert have not been announced.