Modesto police say the man suspected of killing a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy and a locksmith last week died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound before flames engulfed the Chrysler Drive fourplex in which he had barricaded himself.
Jim Richard Ferrario, 45, was the man suspected of shooting deputy Bob Paris, 53, and Glendon Engert, 35, last week as they tried to evict him, Lt. Rick Armendariz of the Modesto Police Department said Tuesday.
Medical examiners found smoke in Ferrario's lungs and burns inside his throat, indicating that he was alive as the fire began consuming the building about 11 hours after the shooting.
Police say he was prepared for a confrontation when Paris, Engert and another deputy came to his door Thursday morning.
Ferrario was found in the bathroom of his apartment surrounded by an arsenal that indicated he was ready for a long standoff, Armendariz said.
The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest and gas mask and had taped makeshift ballistics padding on his arms and legs.
Investigators found ammunition in his cargo pants and a tear gas canister strapped to his leg.
Surrounding Ferrario in the bathroom were 22 firearms, 17 of which were rifles or shotguns. He had two high-powered assault rifles, an M16 and an SKS, one of which was used to kill Paris and Engert, Armendariz said.
There were 500 rounds of ammunition, police scanners and security cameras mounted around his apartment, allowing him to monitor the front door and the area surrounding his residence.
These items, along with several gallons of water, indicated that Ferrario was prepared for a "long-term, violent confrontation with police," Armendariz said.
Blaze under investigation
He was ready when the deputies came to his home because a notice that he would be evicted April 12 had been posted on his door five days before, Armendariz said.
Ferrario had blocked the windows with furniture and at some point during the 11-hour standoff punched holes through interior walls to gain access to other apartments.
Armendariz said law enforcement on scene during the standoff could see him turning lights on and off in neighboring apartments sometime after dark.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Modesto Regional Fire Authority have ruled out electrical malfunction or buildup of natural gas.
The fire was started by Ferrario or unintentionally by law enforcement during the deployment of nonlethal devices, Armendariz said.
Because of the extensive damage to the fourplex, it will be demolished sometime today.
Ferrario had very little contact with law enforcement before Thursday's killings, Armendariz said. He had traffic citations and a verbal dispute with a neighbor.
"This tragic event underscores the unpredictable nature of law enforcement and the potential for violence faced by all peace officers daily," Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden said. "Even the most routine tasks can turn deadly, as shown by this incident. From all evidence, it appears Ferrario planned on engaging in a violent confrontation with the deputies who appeared that day.
"Our department grieves the loss of deputy Paris and Mr. Engert, and our hearts go out to their families."
Funeral arrangements for deputy Robert Paris have been scheduled for Friday at noon at Modesto's Big Valley Grace Community Church, 4040 Tully Road. There will be a procession from the church to graveside services at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave., Hughson. Engert's family has not released information about his funeral.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2366.
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