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Frank Al Mendoza, 54

Frank Al Mendoza, a 54-year-old Latino, was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Friday, Aug. 1, in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Deputies were searching for 24-year-old Cedric Oscar Ramirez around 5 p.m. in the 9000 block of Reichling Lane, hoping to arrest him on parole violations, said Sheriff’s Department Chief of Detectives Bill McSweeney.

Ramirez spotted deputies and ran away, and when deputies tracked him to the driveway of a nearby home, he opened fire on them, McSweeney said. Ramirez broke into the home in the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive through a rear window.

Deputies entered through the front door and rushed an adult and two children out of the house, while Ramirez continued to fire at them.

When Mendoza appeared in the doorway, a deputy mistook him for Ramirez and shot him twice, McSweeney said. Mendoza was crumpled and unconscious in the doorway, with wounds in the head and leg. When deputies realized their mistake they tried to rescue Mendoza, but he was pronounced dead at the scene when paramedics arrived.

Ramirez took Mendoza’s 60-year-old wife hostage and held her until 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when a tactical team entered the house and fatally shot him, McSweeney said.

The woman was unharmed.

Ramirez was wanted on felony warrants for vehicle theft and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, authorities said.

McSweeney said the deputy who fired at Mendoza was an 11-year veteran with a “very fine record.” He declined to release the deputy’s name.

Mendoza, a grandfather, enjoyed baking and tinkering with car, neighbors said.

The Sheriff’s Department’s new inspector general will be closely involved with investigating why Mendoza was killed. Mendoza was the second person mistakenly killed during a hostage situation.

In April, deputies mistakenly fired on two hostages, killing John Winkler, as they fled a knife-wielding man in West Hollywood.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Christopher Goffard, Catherine Saillant and Cindy Chang

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