Suspects arraigned in fatal shooting of El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy |

Suspects arraigned in fatal shooting of El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy

Dylan Svoboda Mountain Democrat

Two of the men suspected in Wednesday’s slaying of an El Dorado Sheriff’s deputy were arraigned on murder charges Friday in Superior Court in Placerville.

Juan Carlos Vasquez-Orozco, the alleged gunman, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assault with a deadly weapon in relation to the death of deputy Brian Ishmael and shooting of an an off-duty law enforcement officer

Christopher Gary Ross, the man who made the 911 call, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter. 

Ramiro Bravo Morales, an alleged accomplice to Vasquez-Orozco, pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact in relation to the murder of Ishmael. 

Vasquez-Orozco and Ross are being held without bail. Morales’ bail was set at $250,000 but it’s a moot point because there’s a no bail hold attached by the U.S. government. 

There was a noticeable law enforcement presence in the courtroom on Friday with a half dozen sheriff’s officers and several deputy district attorneys and investigators on hand.

Early Wednesday morning, Ross, 47, called deputies to his home near Sand Ridge Road in Somerset to report a theft of marijuana, said El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini during a press conference Thursday. 

An El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy and his ride-along partner, a San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputy, arrived on the scene and met with Ross. The deputy and his ride-along then walked over to the marijuana grow where they encountered the two suspects. The two officers were immediately confronted with gunfire.

Ishmael worked for the Placerville Police Department before being hired on at the sheriff’s department about four years ago. His ride-along partner, who returned fire, was shot in the thigh and subsequently treated and released Wednesday. Ishmael, was shot twice in his upper chest and foot.

Vasquez-Orazco and Morales were taken into custody Wednesday. 

Later, law enforcement officials found that Ross had a business relationship with the two men. Ross had failed to report the arrangement to sheriff’s officials in the initial interaction. The marijuana grow was unlawful under California and county law. 

Further proceedings for all three men are scheduled for Dec. 17.

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