One sheriff’s deputy was killed and another was injured during an hours-long standoff in rural California this week.
According to reports, the incident occurred in the town of Wasco on Sunday and involved deputies on the Kern County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.
“The strength to make it through”
A shootout began at the scene and two deputies were reportedly shot by a rifle-wielding gunman during an unsuccessful attempt to gain entry into the home and rescue the hostages inside.
Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia confirmed the news in a statement describing it as “news that every Mayor prays to never get.”
He went on to offer condolences to the deputies’ loved ones, writing: “I pray that God surrounds these families with his love and give them the strength to make it through this devastating time.”
— Mayor Alex Garcia (@MayorAlexGarcia) July 26, 2021
Garcia also took the opportunity to praise first responders in general for putting “their lives on the line every day” in service to their communities.
“A star in our organization”
KTLA identified the deputy killed in the shootout as 35-year-old Phillip Campas, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and was a five-year member of the SWAT team. He left behind a wife and three children, ages 6, 9, and 13.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood lamented the loss of “a star in our organization.”
The deputy wounded in the incident was identified as Dizander Guerrero. Two other deputies on the scene reportedly sustained minor injuries from shrapnel but did not require substantial medical treatment.
Authorities were first advised of the situation after receiving calls about a gunman firing shots and taking people hostage inside the home. KGET identified the suspected gunman as 41-year-old Jose Manuel Ramirez Jr., who was eventually shot and killed by police after he attempted to climb onto the roof of the home with a rifle and a handgun.
Ramirez’s wife, who had a restraining order against him, and their two sons, ages 24 ad 17, were also killed, according to reports. During his press conference on Monday, Youngblood said: “It has the implications of what we see in law enforcement when it comes to domestic violence and how serious it is and, quite frankly, how a restraining order is not bulletproof. Our hearts are broken because of the loss of a star in our organization, but we also have three other victims that we are mourning from the city of Wasco.”