Salinas police: Off-duty officer cleaning gun mistakenly shoots self, kills bystander

An off-duty officer accidentally shot through his own hand and then hit and killed a 20-year-old man last week, according to the Salinas Police Department.

Santa Cruz officer Francisco Villicana was cleaning his personal gun Friday around 5:45 p.m. near the 1500 block of Antelope Drive when he mistakenly fired the single round that killed Luis Alfredo Ferro-Sanchez, police said.

When officers arrived to the scene they found Villicana with a gunshot wound to his hand, and Ferro-Sanchez to his upper torso. Both were taken to the hospital, where Ferro-Sanchez died. 

"This tragic incident is devastating for everyone involved, and we acknowledge many people are grieving," said Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante. 

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Police did not say whether the two men knew each other. They said the incident appears to be an accident, but the case will be investigated by the Monterey County District Attorney. 

Villicana was the one who reported the incident to police, they said. He has been with the Santa Cruz Police Department since February 2022, and was placed on leave while the case is reviewed.

"Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for the family and friends of Mr. Ferro-Sanchez," said Chief Escalante. "We will support them in whatever way we can."