A 20-year-old man was clinging to life today with wounds inflicted by a sheriff's SWAT team after he allegedly fired at sheriff's deputies in unincorporated Willowbrook, just outside Compton.
Ricardo Cendejas was listed in extremely critical condition at a hospital this afternoon. On Sept. 26, he had been released from prison, according to the sheriff's department. It was not immediately known why he had been in prison. Deputies were conducting a traffic stop at 2:57 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Aranbe Avenue and Lucien Street when Cendejas shot at them from his residence in the 2100 block of Lucien Street, sheriff's Lt. John Corina said.
The deputies did not return fire, but set up a containment perimeter with the intent of taking the gunman into custody, Corina said. A SWAT team was summoned and assisted in the search for the suspect. Cendejas was seen exiting the rear of his residence carrying an assault rifle, then hopping over a backyard fence and into his neighbor's backyard in the 2100 block of Shauer Street, Corina said.
SWAT members approached the home on Shauer Street, using an armored vehicle as cover. Cendejas had positioned himself on the east side of his neighbor's home, placing the assault rifle against the east wall of the home, Corina said.
As the deputies pulled up in front of the home, Cendejas walked back toward the rifle as if he was going to pick it up, which is when the deputy-involved shooting occurred, according to Corina. Cendejas collapsed next to the assault rifle.
"Not knowing if the suspect was incapacitated, the deputies utilized a flash bang diversion-type device to determine if the suspect was actually hurt or just trying to ambush them," Corina said.
Once the deputies felt it was safe, they approached Cendejas and took him into custody, Corina said.Cendejas was treated by paramedics and taken to a local hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds to his upper body. The rifle was recovered at the scene, Corina said. No deputies were hurt.