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O.C. Police Shoot 2 Men to Death After Armed Confrontations

May 12, 2004|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

A Santa Ana man was shot to death by police during an early morning confrontation Tuesday after he allegedly robbed and kidnapped a neighborhood acquaintance, officials said.

It was the second fatal shooting by police in an eight-hour period in Orange County, and the fifth officer-involved shooting of the year.

Sarifine Sos, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene after three officers opened fire on him. They said he had been clutching a gun in each hand. The acquaintance was uninjured.

Responding to a disturbance call, police arrived about 5 a.m. at the Bishop Manor Apartments, a crowded, graffiti-riddled complex on Grant Street, near the corner of Main Street and McFadden Avenue.

When they pulled up, patrol officers said, they spotted Sos walking out of an apartment with a gun in each hand, pointing them at an acquaintance, a man identified as Orn Oeum and thought to be in his 20s.

"The suspect had robbed the victim of an undisclosed amount of cash and was taking him out of the house at gunpoint," said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Carlos Rojas.

Oeum and Sos scuffled in the courtyard, one of the guns fired and Oeum fled unharmed as officers approached Sos, officials said.

Police said Sos turned and pointed a gun at the officers, who opened fire.

"He was holding guns in both hands and the officers were in fear for their safety," Rojas said.

The three officers, whose names were not released, were not injured. They were placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure in police shootings.

Neighbor Margarita Bicana said she the gunfire awoke her.

"I was so scared," said Bicana, 46, who watched the aftermath from her front door. "I heard seven to eight shots and I ran downstairs."

She said she saw an officer place a foot on Sos' head, flip him on his back and begin to handcuff him.

"But he stopped when the suspect stopped moving," Bicana said.

Family members said the shooting was senseless.

"He's been in and out of trouble, but I don't believe he would kidnap someone," said his stepfather, Sary Lim.

Lim said Sos left about 2 a.m. with a pack of cigarettes to attend a party at Oeum's apartment.

Sos attended Century High School in the city but never graduated, said his sister, Fadillas Sos, 20, of Santa Ana.

"He was a caring, loving brother who always made sure the family was all right," she said, wiping away tears.

Late Monday, two Fountain Valley officers shot and killed Jason Velarde, 23, who had placed a 911 call, then attacked them with a knife when they arrived at his apartment, officials said.

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