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Ricardo Alfonso Cerna: Wikis

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Ricardo Alfonso Cerna (c. 1956-December 19, 2003) was a Guatemalan immigrant to the United States who became famous for committing suicide with a gun while being videotaped in an interrogation room in the San Bernardino County Sheriff's office in Muscoy, California in 2003. He was 47 years old.

Cerna was stopped by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Parham for a traffic violation on December 19, 2003. He tried to escape in his car and then later on foot. During the pursuit, he shot Deputy Parham twice in the abdomen, non-fatally. Cerna was arrested shortly afterward. Three agencies had been involved in the chase (the San Bernardino Police, the county sheriff, and the California Highway Patrol). During the apprehension and hand-over, no one made sure he was properly searched.

Cerna was sitting alone in an interrogation room, when he shot himself in the side of the head at point-blank range with a .45-caliber handgun he had hidden in the front of his pants. The entire incident was recorded on the surveillance camera in the interrogation room. Although he died instantly, the damage from the bullet to the inside of his head caused blood to pour rapidly out of the wound, his mouth, and his right ear for the remainder of the video (nearly 30 seconds). The sound is clearly audible on the tape.

The Sheriff's Department showed the security camera footage to the media the next day. To avoid public sensationalism, only a handful of reporters was permitted to see it. The footage was never intended to be made public, but it was illicitly leaked.

Snopes.com noted of the video compared to depictions of gunshot suicides in entertainment media, the video is "so tame as to be almost surreal", noting "the weapon does not produce an ear-shattering concussive sound in the small room, blood and brain matter don't splatter all over the walls, and the victim's body isn't hurtled out of the chair and onto the floor".

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