One local law enforcement officer is dead and two more are wounded following a roving shootout that also left a male suspect with gunshot injuries Wednesday afternoon.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told the media that Deputy Bob French, 52, died from gunfire injuries to his chest on the way to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.
It appears French was stationed on a second-floor balcony at the Ramada Inn near Arden-Arcade, where he was providing backup to fellow officers who were pursuing a lead related to a vehicular theft they responded to earlier in the day.
According to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull, the department’s Auto Theft Task Force observed two women enter a stolen car near Fulton Avenue and Auburn Boulevard around 8 a.m. Wednesday. Officers stopped the car in Elk Grove and detained the female occupants. Turnbull said investigators learned that the women were both on probation and staying at the Ramada Inn, on the 2600 block of Auburn Boulevard, where officers went to continue their investigation.
Addressing the media outside of the motel, Turnbull said investigators conducted a “knock and notice” at the second-floor motel room door “when the suspect inside started firing shots through the front door and the front wall where the officers were located.”
Turnbull said two California Highway Patrol officers were struck and returned fire. The suspect then went to the motel room’s rear balcony, where deputies were already stationed in case the suspect fled. Turnbull said there was an exchange of gunfire that left one deputy injured.
That deputy was later identified as French, a 21-year veteran of the department who succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, Jones later said.
Turnbull said the suspect exited the balcony and slipped into a nearby vehicle, leading authorities on a chase up Fulton Avenue, right onto El Camino Avenue and turning onto Watt Avenue a mile later before the suspect’s vehicle crashed.
Turnbull said there was then another exchange of gunfire involving the suspect and the deputies who pursued him. The suspect was struck and taken into custody, Turnbull said.
The suspect’s name and the names of the two female subjects have not been released.
The two CHP officers are expected to survive.
Condolences to French’s family and colleagues quickly poured in from sister agencies and local politicians on social media.
Deputy Danny Oliver was the last Sheriff’s Department officer to die in the line of duty, nearly three years ago. In October 2014, an undocumented fugitive allegedly shot Oliver in the parking lot of a now-demolished motel building and later killed a Placer County sheriff’s deputy before surrendering in Auburn. The suspect in the case, Luis Enrique Bracamontes, is currently on trial for murder.
Up to date as of 5:01 p.m. August 30, 2017.