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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Fillmore

Man Shot by Deputy Was Ex-Police Officer

May 23, 2000|MATT SURMAN and DARYL KELLEY

Officials now have a fuller picture of a shooting by a sheriff's deputy at a Fillmore wedding reception Saturday, and say that a man who returned to the event wielding a gun had earlier been tossed out of the party for being drunk and disruptive.

In addition, the 51-year-old victim, Tony Morales, is a former Fillmore police officer. He was mistakenly shot by a female deputy while he was scuffling with his inebriated son, Chad Morales, authorities said. The elder Morales remains in Santa Paula Memorial Hospital.

Witnesses said the 26-year-old son apparently had been asked to leave the party by a security guard after becoming extremely drunk, and returned to the reception with a weapon about 8:45 p.m, sheriff's spokesman Eric Nishimoto said. Chad Morales was confronted by his father, who asked him to leave.

Deputies had arrived when a shot was fired from the gun Chad Morales was holding. A female deputy, whom Nishimoto refused to identify, fired at the son after he allegedly pointed the gun at her, the spokesman said. The shot hit Tony Morales in the upper torso when his son allegedly pulled him into the line of fire, Nishimoto said.

The wedding was at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fillmore, and was followed by a reception at the Veterans Memorial building. Relatives of the groom, John Galvan, declined to comment on the incident.

Neighbors and friends described Tony Morales as a very happy man, who hadn't seemed troubled about his relationship with his son.

Chad Morales and his wife live with Tony Morales, along with another of Morales' sons, neighbors said. The senior Morales had been a police officer for a short time after graduating from Fillmore High School in 1968, and then opened a private detective office, which he ran until very recently, friends and neighbors said.

"Tony's a regular neighborhood guy: no fights, no parties," said neighbor Mel Bottomley. "I was shocked to find out it was him. He's not that kind of guy. I didn't think his boy was either."

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