CommunityPam's House Blend

Police shoot Marine dead in possible "suicide by cop" incident

An alley in Ceres after a Marine was shot by police. A trail of possible evidence is marked in yellow. Modesto Bee photo by Joan Barnett Lee via AP

This is one of those “suicide by blue/cop” cases that breaks your heart. The man didn’t want to back for yet another tour in Iraq. The real crime is that hundreds in uniform are going to return with psychological and emotional issues as a result of being in the war zone. After they’ve sacrificed their mental health for the military, do you think Bush’s VA is going to give them the follow up care that they require? (SFGate):

Authorities are trying to understand why a Marine who had spent seven months fighting in Iraq allegedly shot to death a police sergeant in the Central Valley town of Ceres [CA] and critically wounded another officer before being shot to death.

“We’re still in the very early stages of investigating this,” Deputy Jason Woodman, spokesman for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, said Monday. “We still have a long way to go.”

Investigators are exploring the possibility that the gunman, whom authorities identified as 19-year-old Andres Raya of Modesto, may have wanted to die in what police call “suicide by cop,” because he didn’t want to go back to Iraq. Although the Marines said Raya’s unit had already been deployed to Iraq twice and was not scheduled to return, his family told investigators that Raya had expressed concern he would be shipped out again.

Raya, who was supposed to have reported back to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County after taking holiday leave, walked into George’s Liquor Store in Ceres Sunday night carrying an SKS assault rifle, authorities said. Raya began making odd statements and asking the clerk suspicious questions, said Modesto police spokesman Rick Applegate.

Raya walked out of the shop and fired off a couple of rounds from his rifle, Woodman said, then went back into the store and told the clerk that he had been shot and to call police.

Officer Sam Ryno, a 22-year police veteran, arrived a short time later. Raya opened fire and hit the 50-year-old officer, who took cover and fired back, authorities said.

About this time Sgt. Howard Stevenson pulled up. Just as he was getting out of his squad car, Raya shot him twice in the head, probably at close range, then fled through nearby backyards, police believe.

Stevenson, 39, had been a member of the Ceres police force for 20 years and was the department’s first officer ever killed in the line of duty. He is survived by a wife and two daughters, ages 19 and 13, and an 18-year-old son.

…Woodman said Raya’s family told investigators that he didn’t want to return to the Middle East. He was due to report back to Camp Pendleton on Sunday.

We are already seeing an increase in homeless Iraq vets showing up in shelters. Many of them have suffered injuries and many are dealing with PTSD. This another Bush shame of the nation.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding