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thedrifter
04-12-06, 08:27 AM
Off-Duty L.A. County Deputy Held in Slaying
By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
April 11, 2006

An off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who had recently returned from military service in Iraq shot and killed a friend in Upland while the two were celebrating the deputy's homecoming Sunday, authorities said.

Chris Sullivan, 24, of Upland was booked on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter after allegedly shooting fellow Marine Corps reservist Cesar Valdez, 24, of Chino. Police said alcohol was a factor in the shooting, which appeared to be an accident.

Valdez and Sullivan had been celebrating Sullivan's return from Iraq on Sunday morning about 6:45 a.m. when the shooting occurred, said Upland police spokesman Sgt. Alan Ansara.

Ansara said Sullivan accidentally fired a weapon, striking Valdez in the head in the driveway of Sullivan's home in the 1500 block of North Winston Way.

"It is our belief at this point that it is fair to say the shooting is accidental, but there's a significant amount of information showing [Sullivan's] lack of due caution and circumspection, which led to the shooting and the death," Ansara said.

"Alcohol played a role in the shooting."

Police said Sullivan and Valdez had been celebrating at a friend's home "and several other locations" through the night.

Valdez's girlfriend, who was not identified by police, was also at Sullivan's home when the shooting occurred, police said.

Valdez was taken to San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland and was pronounced dead at 7:10 a.m. Sunday, the San Bernardino County coroner reported.

An autopsy will be performed, the coroner said.

Sullivan posted bail and was released from jail Sunday night, Upland police said.

"At this time, we have found no malice, no finding that he [Sullivan] intended to kill this victim, and that's the key difference between this being a murder and what he's been arrested for," Ansara said.

Ellie