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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

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.

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

SgtBogie @ 9/12/2011 9:12 PM

Good job all made it home. Iam an ex-Ontario PD Officer and I loved the Dept. Be safe...and God bless. Fred Borgards Coolidge,Az.

Morning Eagle @ 9/12/2011 10:11 PM

Good write up Dean and a good job by the officers involved. Never ignore that gut instinct. Paying attention to it has prepared many an officer with a heightened alertness that has saved their life.

Tom @ 9/12/2011 10:35 PM

This account is like one of those books that is so engaging you can't put it down. It took a lot of lead to put Meza down. Officers obviously deserved their rewards.

Tom @ 9/13/2011 7:10 AM

My dept over time migrated to semi auto pistols with shotguns and ar15s in the cars. It sounds like rifles are not an option in this department. In the old days we had revolvers and dump pouches with shotguns and good running shoes.

Rick @ 9/13/2011 9:08 AM

Live and learn; both officers survived the fight and are better for it. I bet both officers now carry more magazines for their side arm! Police Departments need to incorporate tactical training into their range time or officers should pay for their own tactical courses through any one of the excellent schools out there. Gun fights are rarely a static simple fight; they are usually dynamic and move around. Calibre Press Street Survival is an excellant seminar and will make officers more cognizant of threats.

Kev @ 9/17/2011 9:58 PM

Great job and Thank-God the officers ecsaped any injuries. I do think as a police society as a whole, we need to train our officers that when a life is at risk we are NOT bound to give the Drop Your Weapon Command. Stay Safe

Shf Dennis Smith @ 10/4/2011 3:22 PM

Good write up about this extraodinary event. I'm thankful all officers involved were safe when the smoke cleared, and they sound like very couragous and dedicated officers. I'm also happy to hear their department has reviewed practices and equipment, we owe it to our officers to do everything we can to train them and supply them with good equipment so they have the advantage. I tell my officers their most important task at work every day is to stay safe and get home to their families.

Greg @ 10/11/2011 5:37 AM

Great job and Thank-God the officers ecsaped any injuries.Police Departments need to incorporate tactical training into their range time its great to have a well train tactical unit to respond to something like this but it takes time, police department need to train there line offficer's so that they can survive. it looks like the person in this incident had some kind of military training people prepare for more of this as our military people come back with all that training and no work all it takes its a person to loose it. god bless our officer.s nation wide im retired and i thank you for keeping me and my family safe.

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