Alleged car burglar loses gunfight with Chico PD

A Chico police officer was wounded and the man he was pursuing was shot dead Thursday night when a gunfight between police and a wanted felon broke out in a West Chico alley.

Police were called out shortly after 11 p.m. to investigate reports of a man and woman allegedly trying to break into cars, police said. Acting on witness descriptions, officers spotted the male suspect and chased him on foot through several back yards, eventually flushing him into an alley behind Citrus Avenue.

It was then that the man came upon Officer Tony Ferreira, who had been searching for the suspect, Luis Diaz.

“It does not appear [Ferreira] was surprised by Diaz’s presence,” Interim Police Chief Mike Maloney said. “He was surprised that he had a weapon.”

According to police sources, Diaz, a 24-year-old Hamilton City gang member who was wanted on two outstanding felony warrants, drew a handgun and shot Ferreira in the shoulder. Ferreira returned fire, as did officers Art Moore and Eric McManus, who had been pursuing Diaz.

Officer Ferreira was treated and released at Enloe Medical Center, just two blocks from the shooting. Ferreira, who was a sheriff’s deputy in Solano County for more than two years before joining Chico police about a year ago, was said to be in good condition. The bullet fired by Diaz went through the fleshy part of his upper shoulder, missing his body armor. Diaz, who was hit several times by police gunfire, was pronounced dead on arrival at Enloe.

Maloney said officers discharged multiple rounds during the firefight. All weapons involved were given to a state crime lab for testing, which should reveal how many rounds were fired. Diaz’s 9mm handgun was also given to the lab for testing, as was a spare magazine found in the vicinity of the chase area.

The female suspect, Stacey Peterson, 22, of Chico, is thought to have been Diaz’s girlfriend. Peterson was captured hiding in a resident’s back yard a short time after the shooting. She was booked on burglary and prowling charges. Diaz, whose felony warrants stemmed from charges of methamphetamine manufacture and being a felon in possession of a handgun, was carrying two baggies of what police suspect is speed when he was shot, Maloney confirmed.

All three officers involved were placed on administrative leave until a departmental investigation is completed, standard procedure for police after such an event. A coroner’s report on Diaz was not available by press time.