UPDATE Deputy Shooting: Deputy's killer likely died in gunfight with police

Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, of Eugene, Ore.
Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, of Eugene, Ore.

Ukiah Daily Journal

The Eugene, Ore. man who shot and killed Mendocino County Sheriff's Office deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino Wednesday in Fort Bragg is believed to have died from wounds he received in a gunfire exchange with law enforcement, not by suicide, as was initially believed.

Sheriff Tom Allman was meeting with investigators Thursday morning in the ongoing investigation of the events that led the deputy's shooting death.

Suspect Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, reportedly stole a BMW in Eugene, Ore. in the early morning hours of Wednesday and locked its owners in the trunk. The pair later escaped, and no further information about that is yet known.

Chaney engaged a business owner at Confusion Hill, between Leggett and Fort Bragg, in gunfire during a confrontation about Chaney peeing in public, then fled south again and disappeared in the Cleone area, north of Fort Bragg.

In the ensuing search, deputy Del Fiorentino turned onto Park Drive and came nose-to-nose with the stolen car. Before Del Fiorentino could get out of his patrol car, Chaney reportedly sprayed it with gunfire from an assault rifle described as similar to an AK-47, riddling the hood with bullets and breaking the front and back windows, and killing the deputy.

Fort Bragg Police Department Lt. John Naulty heard the gunfire and responded to the scene, finding Chaney going through the patrol car and taking the slain deputy's sidearm from its holster.

Chaney reportedly fired on Naulty, who fired back before Chaney escaped into the brush. A perimeter was set up along Highway 1 for several hours Wednesday afternoon while several law enforcement agencies searched for him, including a Sonoma County helicopter.

No further information was available Wednesday about the cause of Chaney's death, but authorities later found him dead, with a gunshot wound to his leg that is believed to have been caused by Naulty's return fire, Allman said previously.

Chaney's cause of death is pending an autopsy.

A Lane County Jail records search shows Chaney was arrested and lodged at the jail March 6 on suspicion of unlawful possession or concealment of firearms and possession of MDMA, a psychoactive drug known as "ecstasy."

Further information about the investigation will be reported as it becomes available.

Tiffany Revelle can be reached at udjtr@ukiahdj.com, on Twitter @TiffanyRevelle or at 468-3523.