A 17-year veteran deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is being held on murder charges in connection with a June homicide in the Sylmar section of L.A.
Francisco Gamez, 41, was booked by the LAPD Wednesday on charges of murder, attempted murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Gamez is being held on $4 million bail. He was not on duty at the time of his arrest.
Gamez is accused of involvement in the June 17 murder of 38-year-old Armando Casillas, who was shot dead outside of his parents' Sylmar home.
"I heard gunshots, came out, and I saw my brother lying on the grass, unconscious," Marylou Casillas, the victim's sister, told KABC.
Another person was shot at during the homicide but was not injured, police said.
Mission Homicide Unit detectives investigating the murder developed leads that connected a deputy sheriff to the crime, and as the case progressed, Robbery Homicide Division assumed primary investigative responsibility in the case, according to police.
Investigators believe before the fatal shooting Gamez and Casillas got into an argument, possibly involving Gamez' son, KABC reported. Police allege that Gamez then shot at another bystander, but missed.
Gamez had been working out of the West Hollywood sheriff's station since 2005. He was relieved of duty with pay on July 3 pending the outcome of the investigation, Sheriff Lee Baca said.
"The off-duty acts that led to the arrest of Francisco Games are deeply disturbing to me and to the entire Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department,'' Baca said in a statement. "The sheriff's department has been fully cooperating with the Los Angeles Police Department since first learning of the investigation.''
Joe Casella, the victim's brother, told KABC that her family is upset after the five month investigation led to an arrest.
"We're just sad. My brother's dead, he's gone. It's heartbreaking. People who are supposed to protect the community shouldn't be doing stuff like that," he said. "It's just too bad that he was a professional and we are law-abiding citizens, and over something, maybe not even something big, everybody lost a lot."
It wasn't immediately clear whether Gamez has retained a lawyer in the case.