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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Ontario, California 02/03/2002

On Super Bowl Sunday, officers of the Ontario PD found themselves in a true "sudden death" engagement with a local gang member.

September 12, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

The suspects' car was battered by numerous shots from Officer Lavoie. Photo: Officer Lavoie.
The suspects' car was battered by numerous shots from Officer Lavoie. Photo: Officer Lavoie.
Lavoie couldn't hear the click, but saw the man jerk the gun back as it dry fired. Meza reflexively jumped backward as Lavoie finished reloading his last
magazine.

Looking for Backup

Lavoie knew he needed to get out of the carport. He ran around to the front of the truck, worried that he would run into the second suspect at any moment. What he didn't know at the time was the man was hit and down in his car. Without a driver, the Olds had drifted into a fence.

Lavoie looked for another place to go. Behind him was a chest-high block wall with barbed wire on top of it. He didn't want to get penned in with no ammunition, so lacking any other available cover and not wanting to go up against these guys with only a knife, he ran into the alley as much in a bid to get some distance between himself and the suspect as to look for his backup.

Lavoie was so focused on getting back to the driveway access to the street that it was only later that he would learn the suspect actually chased after him. Fortunately, the first person he saw was fellow officer Cpl. Doug Reed pulling up to the scene.

Meza jumped into Lavoie's unit. So tight were things in the parking area that he had to smash forward and backward into cars and walls in a desperate bid to flee the scene. After four or five such maneuvers, he succeeded in bounding past Reed's patrol car and onto the street, but not before Reed was able to get off a few rounds.

Reed remained with Lavoie and accompanied him back to the original crime scene to check out the suspect car and the status of its driver. That was when they found Martinez lying down in the front of the car where he'd taken a head shot.

Drop the Weapon!

As numerous officers converged on the vicinity, Meza sped northbound against southbound traffic on Mountain Avenue. The windows were shot out of the patrol car and the spotlights and steady red light were on, so responding units initially didn't know what was going on. Some thought Lavoie was in pursuit; others surmised that Lavoie was driving himself to the hospital because he'd been shot. A number of Ontario PD units fell in behind Lavoie's unit, not knowing the bad guy was driving the car.

By the time Reed got on the radio to clarify the situation, Meza had turned onto 4th Street, a couple of miles away, where he lost control and hit a parked semi-truck before he exited the car, shotgun in tow.

Officers chased Meza down the street.


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