Salinas, CA – An off-duty Santa Cruz police officer accidentally shot himself and fatally wounded another man as he was cleaning his personal firearm last week, according to investigators.
The incident occurred near the 1500-block of Antelope Drive at approximately 5:45p.m. on Oct. 21, KTVU reported.
According to Salinas Police Department (SPD) investigators, Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Officer Francisco Villicana, 22, was off-duty and preparing to clean his personal firearm when he unintentionally discharged the weapon.
The bullet traveled through Officer Villicana’s hand and hit 20-year-old Luis Alfredo Ferro-Sanchez in his upper torso, KTVU reported.
Officer Villicana immediately called 911.
He and Ferro-Sanchez were rushed to a local hospital, where Ferro-Sanchez was pronounced dead, KTVU reported.
Investigators said the fatal shooting appears to have been a “tragic accident,” but the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office’s investigation is still ongoing, according to the Monterey Herald.
The SPD said it does not plan to recommend criminal charges, KION reported.
It is unclear how or if the rookie officer and Ferro-Sanchez knew one another, according to KTVU.
Officer Villicana joined the SCPD in February.
He has been placed on administrative leave while the case remains under review, KTVU reported.
“This tragic incident is devastating for everyone involved, and we acknowledge many people are grieving,” Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante said. “Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for the family and friends of Mr. Ferro-Sanchez. We will support them in whatever way we can.”
Ferro-Sanchez worked as a security officer and aspired to have a career in law enforcement.
“He loved his job as a security at the boardwalk and his biggest dream was to be a police officer,” his obituary read.
He leaves behind his parents and his two siblings.