Services will begin at noon at Big Valley Grace Community Church, 4040 Tully Road, for Deputy Robert Lee Paris Jr., 53, who was fatally shot along with a civilian April 12 while trying to serve eviction papers at an apartment at 2141 Chrysler Drive, in Modesto.
A procession following the services will go from the church to Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave., in Hughson, where there will be a graveside service, according to Franklin & Downs Funeral Homes. (See Pages 43 and 44 for more.)
Paris, a 16-year veteran with the department, graduated from Tracy High School in 1977. He was described as popular and laid-back by former classmate Lawrence Smith, who also recalled that Paris played drums in the school band.
“He’s very outgoing, do-anything-for-anyone type of guy,” he said during
a phone interview the night Paris was killed. “This is really a shock to everyone around here who knew Bob, because you would never think this would happen to a guy like that. He always tried to help everyone.”
Glendon Engert, a 37-year-old locksmith from Modesto, and Paris were trying to open the front door of the apartment to formally evict 45-year-old Jim Richard Ferrario at about 11 a.m., according to a press release sent Tuesday, April 17, by the Modesto Police Department, which is leading the local investigation.
Police had posted an eviction notice on Ferrario’s door five days earlier, and investigators suspect he was prepared for a confrontation April 12, according to police. Ferrario fatally shot the pair through the front door when they arrived, police said.
An 11-hour standoff ensued, and a fire began in the building shortly before midnight, the cause of which is still being determined. Investigators found Ferrario’s body in the bathroom of the apartment the following day. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
Word of Paris’ death spread quickly to Tracy, where several people sent emails to the Tracy Press detailing the life of a man they affectionately referred to as “Bob.”
Shortly after graduating from Tracy High, Paris attended San Joaquin Delta College and then entered paramedic school in 1979, his obituary states.
Erik Jorgensen was a firefighter with the then-City of Tracy Fire Department and the Tracy Rural Fire Protection District from 1992 to 1999.
He frequently worked alongside Paris, who was a paramedic until the mid-1990s for Tracy Ambulance and later American Medical Response.
“Bob was an absolute professional in the years I worked alongside him,” Jorgensen wrote in an email to the Press. “I know there will, without a doubt, be hundreds if not thousands of readers who will have fond memories of working with him, receiving outstanding medical care from him, or simply getting a friendly wave from him as he passed by in his ambulance, and later his patrol car.”
Paris’ work led him to be named Paramedic of the Year by the Tracy Exchange Club, according to a Nov. 14, 1983, article in the Tracy Press.
His law enforcement career began after he graduated in 1993 from the Ray Simon Regional Criminal Justice Training Center. In 1996, Paris joined Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy and moved to full time in 1999.
“This is a tragic day for law enforcement and public safety,” Sheriff Adam Christianson said at the scene April 12, according to the Modesto Bee. “Deputy Paris paid the ultimate price, sacrificing
his life, while protecting and serving the citizens of Stanislaus County. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family, the community, our sheriff’s family and all the law enforcement personnel from every jurisdiction in the Central Valley who come to our aid today.”
More than 100 police from about 15 valley-based agencies, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and at least four SWAT teams surrounded the apartment building.
Investigators found a stockpile of supplies near Ferrario’s body that suggested he was not going to be evicted without a fight. Among the cache were 22 firearms, of which 17 were rifles or shotguns, according to the statement from Modesto police.
Two assault rifles — an M-16 and an SKS — were also recovered. One of the rifles is believed by police to have been used by Ferrario to kill the two men.
Several gallons of water, 500 rounds of ammunition and a police scanner were also found near his body, police said.
Ferrario was wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask and had ballistics padding attached to his extremities and a tear gas canister strapped to his leg, according to Modesto police.
“From all evidence, it appears Ferrario planned on engaging in a violent confrontation with the deputies who appeared that day.” said Modesto Chief Michael Harden. “Our department grieves the loss of Deputy Paris and Mr. Engert, and our hearts go out to their families.”
The Paris family released a statement through the sheriff’s department Friday, April 13, and declined media interviews.
Paris is survived by his adult children, Bobby Paris and Jami Paris, both of Tracy; parents, Robert Sr. and Jane of Lodi; sister, Krista Torpey of Kennesaw, Ga.; and brother, Eric Paris of Stockton, according to his obituary.
“We would like to thank our extended family, friends, local law enforcement and the community for their overwhelming support during this difficult time,” the family stated. “Bob was a beloved son, a fun-loving brother, a caring father and a dear friend to many. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. … The entire Paris family extends our deepest sympathy to the family of the other victim of this terrible and senseless tragedy.”
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be sent to Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation at cbtf.org or to the Peace Officer Memorial Group, P.O. Box 577105, Modesto, 95357.