Sher­iff’s deputy shot to death

The Day - - OPINION - By JONATHAN J. COOPER

Sacra­mento, Calif. — A gun­man with an as­sault ri­fle shot and killed a Cal­i­for­nia sher­iff’s deputy and wounded two other of­fi­cers Wed­nes­day at a Sacra­mento ho­tel that was later sur­rounded by of­fi­cers search­ing for sus­pects.

Three peo­ple, in­clud­ing the man suspected of killing the deputy, were in cus­tody fol­low­ing a chase in a stolen car that led to the ho­tel. Po­lice be­lieve other sus­pects may still be holed up in a room where the shots were fired. Guests at the ho­tel were told to shel­ter in place.

“It was an ex­tremely dy­namic, hor­rific se­ries of events that oc­curred and maybe will con­tinue to oc­cur,” Sacra­mento County Sher­iff Scott Jones said.

Robert French, a 21-year vet­eran of the Sacra­mento County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment, died on the way to a hospi­tal from a gun­shot wound to his side, Jones said. The bul­let ap­peared to go into his chest cav­ity, he said.

The two wounded Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cers were ex­pected to sur­vive.

The uniden­ti­fied man suspected of killing French was shot by au­thor­i­ties and ap­pre­hended. Two women, who were not named, were also in cus­tody.

Au­thor­i­ties said the women led CHP of­fi­cers on a ve­hi­cle chase in what was be­lieved to be a stolen car. When the chase ended about 20 miles from where it be­gan, the women were taken into cus­tody and po­lice learned one of them had booked a ho­tel room in Sacra­mento.

Of­fi­cers went to search the ho­tel. When they an­nounced them­selves, they were hit with gun­fire com­ing from in­side the room. Au­thor­i­ties say a man in­side then left through the back, where he shot French and fled in a ve­hi­cle.

Af­ter a short pur­suit, po­lice ex­changed fire with the man, who was hit, sher­iff’s spokesman Tony Turn­bull said.

Jeff Mar­shall, who lives near the ho­tel, said he heard gun­shots and then tires squeal­ing and saw a gray Dodge Charger speed by his home, go­ing the wrong way down a busy street.

Mar­shall es­ti­mated he heard 12 shots.

“It was like the wild West,” Mar­shall said.

The sher­iff de­scribed French, 52, as a “well-known, well-re­spected train­ing of­fi­cer” as­signed to pa­trol the county’s north­ern areas.

He was a “go-to guy for ad­vice and coun­sel, not just ca­reer ad­vice but tac­ti­cal ad­vice and things like that,” Jones said.

French is sur­vived by his live-in girl­friend, adult chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, and a sis­ter.

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