Whittier Man Sentenced to 36 Years for Firing at Agent and Drone

A Whittier man, Luis Mendez Jr., 51, was sentenced to 36 years and four months in prison for firing at a law enforcement officer and a drone during an eight-hour standoff in Costa Mesa. This verdict came after his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon against a special agent, among other charges, reports the Orange County Register.

The Incident

On October 5, 2022, law enforcement officers visited a building on Monrovia Avenue in Costa Mesa to check on firearms registered at the address. Despite a 2017 domestic violence conviction that barred Mendez from owning weapons, he had been using the location for a residence and business.

During the standoff, Mendez fired a .308 rifle round at a state bureau of firearm agent who was preparing to breach the door. Prosecutors noted that Mendez ignored law enforcement attempts to identify themselves before firing. Later, Mendez shot three rounds from a shotgun at a .

The Standoff and Surrender

Mendez texted a friend, claiming he fired in “legitimate defense.” The standoff ended when authorities used tear gas, leading to Mendez's surrender. Law enforcement recovered a rifle, a shotgun, and multiple handguns from the scene. No injuries were reported.

Defense Argument

Mendez's defense attorney requested an eight-year sentence, arguing there was no evidence Mendez intended to hit anyone. The defense highlighted that Mendez had more firepower available but chose not to use it during the standoff.

DroneXL's Take

This incident underscores the challenges law enforcement faces when dealing with armed individuals. The use of drones provided crucial support during the standoff, demonstrating their value in enhancing public safety. As continues to evolve, it will play an even more significant role in law enforcement operations.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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