Off-duty officer cleaning firearm accidentally shoots self, fatally wounds man

Francisco Villicana was preparing to clean his personally owned firearm when he accidentally discharged a single round, hitting the man in the torso


By Jessica A. York
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.  — An off-duty Santa Cruz police officer has been accused of accidentally shooting and killing a 20-year-old man Friday evening, Salinas police announced Tuesday.

Salinas police were called at 5:45 p.m. Friday to the 1500 block of Antelope Drive for the reported shooting, the department said in a media release.

Francisco Villicana, 22, apparently was preparing to clean his personally owned firearm when he accidentally discharged a single round, according to police.

The bullet traveled through Villicana's hand and into the torso of Luis Alfredo Ferro-Sanchez, police said. Ferro-Sanchez and Villicana were both taken to a local hospital for treatment, where Ferro-Sanchez died.

Salinas police detectives believe the shooting to be "a tragic accident" but will forward the case to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office for review.

Villicana, who was sworn in as a Santa Cruz police officer in February, reported the shooting to police, authorities said. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcomes of both the death and administrative investigations, according to Santa Cruz police spokesperson Joyce Blaschke.

"This tragic incident is devastating for everyone involved, and we acknowledge many people are grieving," Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante was quoted in a media release Tuesday evening. "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."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct a photo caption identifying Villicana.

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