Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Man Commits Suicide Inside Interview Room - Suicide Video Included (Videotaped) | OGRISH.COM

MUSCOY, Calif. -- A man who shot and wounded a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in Muscoy on Friday morning killed himself an hour later while alone inside a sheriff's interview room with a pistol he apparently sneaked into the building, officials said.

Calif. Man Shoots Cop Then Kills Self While in Custody

SAN BERNARDINO: The sheriff says he wasn't searched properly. The suicide was videotaped.

By TIM GRENDA AND IMRAN GHORI / The San Bernardino Press-Enterprise

Sheriff Gary Penrod said officers failed to adequately search the man, identified by the San Bernardino County Coroner's office as Ricardo Alfonso Cerna, 47, of San Bernardino.

The deputy shot during the traffic stop, Mike Parham, 31, is in critical but stable condition and is expected to recover, officials said.

In an extraordinary move, a 13-minute surveillance-camera video that included footage of the man's suicide was shown by the Sheriff's Department to reporters, the leaders of local Latino groups and officials from the Mexican consulate to quash any questions regarding the department's treatment of Hispanic subjects.

The video shows Cerna pulling a .45-caliber handgun from his pants and firing one shot into his left temple.

"The best way to dispel any rumors was to have the media view this tape," said Undersheriff Bob Peppler.

The video, which sheriff's officials said was unedited, begins with Cerna being brought into an interview room where Sheriff's Sgt. Bobby Dean uncuffed him and had him sit in a chair in front of a table.

Cerna, looking tired and disheveled, only spoke briefly and in Spanish, replying to questions from Dean.

He leaned down on the table on his right arm for much of the time, occasionally rubbing his head, his nose and eyes with his hand, and coughing a few times. His eyes were downcast, only looking up a couple times when speaking to Dean. He responded with a short, tired laugh when Dean asked him the Spanish word for wallet and he responded " cartera."

At one point, Dean took Cerna out of the interview room for about four minutes to have his fingerprints scanned electronically. The man was brought back shortly because the machine wasn't working at the time, officials said.

Shortly after they returned, someone brought in a bottle of water and a cup of coffee for Dean. Dean stepped out of the room, leaving Cerna alone.

Cernasat down with his back against the wall, took the cap off the water bottle, took two gulps, and put the bottle down. He started breathing heavily, pulled a large handgun from the front of his pants with his left hand and shot himself in the left temple.

The video ended with an expletive from Dean off camera.
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