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‘Shooting stance’: Officials investigate Canyon Country incident

Posted: July 9, 2010 10:07 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives and crime-lab investigators look over the scene of the Parklane Mobile Estates mobile-home park shooting Friday.

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A Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputy shot a 41-year-old man outside the Canyon Country mobile home he shared with his mother early Friday after authorities said he pretended to brandish a gun with his hands.

The man was in stable condition at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital at noon Friday, authorities said.

Investigators haven’t yet determined whether Ralph Noriega pointed a gun at the deputies, although they hadn’t found a gun at the scene of the shooting by 1:30 p.m. Friday, said homicide Lt. Don Slawson.

Investigators did recover a black cell phone charger and a pair of black sunglasses where Noriega fell after being shot, he said.

Shooting stance
About 2:50 a.m., neighbors called the Sheriff’s Department about reporting that a possibly suicidal man was yelling and revving his motorcycle in the mobile home park.

When deputies arrived, they saw Noriega outside his mother’s mobile home with his hands tucked in his pants behind his back, Slawson said.

“(Deputies) ordered him to raise his hands,” Slawson said. “He failed to comply, at which point he raised his hand in his rear waistband. On the second time deputies told him to raise his hands, Noriega took a shooting stance.”

Slawson said Noriega put both his hands together and pointed at the deputies, leading them to believe he had a gun.

“He had a dark object in one of his hands and made a drawing motion in the direction of the deputies,” Slawson said. “Deputies, fearing they were about to be shot, fired at him.”

Two deputies shot about six shots at Noriega, striking him once in the torso, Slawson said. Noriega was taken by ambulance to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital shortly after being shot.

Authorities don’t yet know if Noriega was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, the lieutenant said.

The scene of the shooting was blocked by sheriff’s black-and-white cruisers, unmarked detectives’ cars and yellow police tape Friday about 11 a.m. Eight investigators stood in front of the white mobile home with turquoise trim, where Noriega’s mother lives.

Homicide investigator Sgt. John Fredendall, notebook in hand, said authorities in front of the home were spending the day processing evidence.

Noriega had been arrested at least once before. Sheriff’s records show last month, local deputies nabbed him on suspicion of vandalism, though prosecutors never charged him because there wasn’t enough evidence.

Neighbors heard yelling
Neighbors said they’ve heard Noriega argue with his mom several times before.

Kari and Hector Ramos, who have lived directly behind Noriega’s home for five years, said they often heard Noriega and his mom arguing.

That night, they said, they heard shouting about 12:30 a.m., then heard Noriega’s tires screech as he rode his motorcycle away from the mobile home park and onto Soledad Canyon Road.

A purple Yamaha Road Star Warrior motorcycle with a Nevada license plate was towed from the scene of the shooting about 10:15 a.m.

Hector said he was awakened about 3 a.m. when Noriega came back to his mom’s home and started yelling.

“He was yelling, ‘Why don’t you let me in? Take me back,’” Hector Ramos recalled. “‘You going to kick me out of the house every time I ride my motorcycle?’”

Minutes later, the Ramoses heard sirens and deputies yelling at Noriega.

“I heard them yelling, ‘Get your hands out of your pockets,’ maybe three times,” Hector Ramos said.

Then the sound of gunfire woke Kari Ramos.

“It was like pop-pop-pop, real quick,” she said. “And then there was a pause and then another pop. I honestly thought it was fireworks.

“I didn’t think anything about it. Then I heard siren after siren. It didn’t sound like a gun.”

After Noriega was shot, Kari said she heard his mom crying in front of her home and pleading with the deputies to get her son help. An ambulance arrived quickly, she said.

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