Sacra­mento deputy re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing shot in face

Sus­pect caught af­ter hours-long in­tense man­hunt

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page - By Don Thomp­son

SACRA­MENTO — Alex Lad­wig, a 25-year-old Sacra­mento County sher­iff’s deputy, was work­ing an evening rush-hour shift at a tran­sit sta­tion when, with­out warn­ing, he found him­self fight­ing for his life.

The four-year Sher­iff’s Depart­ment vet­eran was alone and work­ing over­time at a Sacra­mento sta­tion when au­thor­i­ties say he ap­proached 27-year-old Ni­cory Mar­quis Spann on the lower level shortly be­fore 6 p.m. Tues­day. It’s not clear why he did so, but Lad­wig soon ra­dioed his col­leagues for help, say­ing he was in a fight.

Mo­ments later, he ra­dioed he’d been shot.

The at­tack trig­gered an hours-long man­hunt that snarled in­ter­state traf­fic, forced dozens of by­standers to flee a nearby ho­tel, and ended with Spann sur­ren­der­ing in a ho­tel al­cove af­ter he was spot­ted by a re­mote-con­trolled po­lice ro­bot, au­thor­i­ties said Wed­nes­day.

Lad­wig was re­cov­er­ing in a hospi­tal Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing shot in the face with his own gun.

Spann, of Sacra­mento, was jailed with­out bail for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of at­tempted mur­der of a sher­iff ’s deputy. Of­fi­cials could not say if Spann had an at­tor­ney or will be as­signed one when he ap­pears Fri­day in court.

Sher­iff’s spokesman Sgt. Tony Turn­bull said Spann at­tacked the deputy with­out be­ing pro­voked and wres­tled away his gun, fir­ing twice. One bul­let struck Lad­wig in the jaw.

More than 100 of­fi­cers from mul­ti­ple agen­cies swarmed the area within min­utes of Lad­wig’s dis­tress calls. Fire trucks and am­bu­lances fol­lowed. A sher­iff ’s he­li­copter ar­rived over­head so fast that deputies spot­ted Spann run­ning into a nearby Red Roof Inn.

“Once you put out over the ra­dio that you’re fight­ing some­body, im­me­di­ately of­fi­cers are usu­ally re­spond­ing,” Turn­bull said.

Wit­ness Tori Brant was with other peo­ple in a Star­bucks across the street from the ho­tel and was told by po­lice to evac­u­ate im­me­di­ately.

“Po­lice said they were pre­par­ing for a shootout.” Brant told the Sacra­mento Bee.

Dozens of ho­tel guests were evac­u­ated, and oth­ers were warned to stay locked in­side their rooms while a spe­cial weapons and tac­tics team went door to door in search of the sus­pect.

“When you’re deal­ing with a build­ing that has sev­eral sto­ries, it be­comes an even more tac­ti­cally dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,” Turn­bull said. “You have to take one room at a time, one floor at a time. Your eyes have to be ev­ery­where.”

Deputies brought in a re­motely con­trolled bomb dis­posal ro­bot, a multi-wheeled con­trap­tion equipped with an ex­tend­able arm and four cam­eras.

Us­ing the ro­bot, au­thor­i­ties spot­ted Spann hid­ing in an al­cove in an out­side hall­way of the mo­tel about 9:15 p.m. Deputies were able to talk to Spann through the ro­bot, con­vinc­ing him to sur­ren­der.

Court and prison records and an As­so­ci­ated Press story say Spann was con­victed nearly a decade ago of charges linked to the fa­tal shoot­ings of a brother and sis­ter.

Spann, then 18, was ini­tially charged with mur­der and con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der.

He was even­tu­ally given a 16-month sen­tence on re­vised charges of be­ing an ac­ces­sory af­ter the fact and re­ceiv­ing stolen property.

Spann was ar­rested with three other sus­pects af­ter 24-year-old Omar Aquino and 27year-old Teresa Sanchez-Aquino were fa­tally shot in­side their Moun­tain View home in 2008.

He later re­ceived a three-year sen­tence for sell­ing drugs and com­pleted his pa­role in 2012. He has since faced sev­eral mis­de­meanor charges.

Lad­wig’s du­ties at the bus and light rail sta­tion along In­ter­state 80 in­cluded check­ing fares and deal­ing with loi­ter­ers or peo­ple who ap­pear to be un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol.

He was talk­ing as he was rushed away by am­bu­lance — “al­ways a good sign,” Turn­bull said. His jaw was sur­gi­cally re­paired and he was in sta­ble con­di­tion Wed­nes­day at Mercy San Juan Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

His in­jury will take months to fully heal, ac­cord­ing to a Go­FundMe ac­count that has col­lected more than $22,000 af­ter be­ing set up by a fam­ily friend.

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