On Oct. 23, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael, 37, lost his life to two illegal immigrants over a false larceny report. Four men have been charged in connection with the crime. According to reports, Ishmael and an unnamed off-duty deputy from San Joaquin County who was doing a ride-along responded to a report of theft of marijuana plants in an illegal grow area.
The 911 caller, Christopher Ross, said people were stealing plants outside a private residence, but he didn’t report that he had a business arrangement with the growers. “Had he been truthful with our deputies and the 911 dispatcher, this tragedy would not have occurred,” said John D’Agostini, El Dorado County sheriff.
Ishmael and the off-duty officer announced their presence when they reached the back of the 75-plant growing operation, and D’Agostini said “they were immediately confronted with gunfire.” The San Joaquin County deputy was hit once and tried to help Ishmael, who had been hit in the upper chest, above his bulletproof vest, and in the foot.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page:
“A subject operating a marijuana grow had observed several men stealing plants at approximately 12:30 a.m. and stated that a vehicle was parked at a neighbor’s home. Deputy Ishmael and an off-duty deputy from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office who was riding along with him responded to the area. Shortly after 1:00 a.m., he broadcast that shots had been fired. Deputy Ishmael and the off-duty deputy both exchanged shots with multiple subjects.”
Juan Carlos Vasquez Orozco, the alleged shooter, underwent surgery for gunshot wounds, D’Agostini reported. Orozco was arrested on suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Ramiro Bravo Morales, 22, was charged with being an accessory, with bail set at $250,000. D’Agostini said Orozco and Morales were Mexican Nationals, and he wasn’t sure if they were in the U.S. legally. Ross, the 911-caller, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and is being held on a $50,000 bail.
“I stand before you with the worst news that we can convey,” D’Agostini said at a news conference. “Earlier this morning, we lost one of our heroes.”
The town of El Dorado honored its fallen officer with words and deeds. Logtown County Market store manager Paul Adams lowered the U.S. flags to half-staff and also raised a thin blue line flag in Ishmael’s memory, KCRA reported.
“This is a huge loss,” Adams said. “Not just for the department, not just for his family, but for the community, for everybody. He was a great person, a great cop and great at what he did. Everybody, of course, is heartbroken over this.”
Ishmael had been with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office for four years and had worked for two years at the Placerville Police Department. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.
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