A fortuitous click

Photograph by Alejo Reinoso

Gun malfunction during struggle with a shoplifting suspect may have been the difference between life and death for Folsom police

Folsom police survived a close call with an armed suspect last week.

The incident started with a 911 call about shoplifting at a store on Riley Street. When officers arrived, they reportedly found a loss prevention employee in a standoff with 29-year-old Jason Knapp inside. The officers stepped in and a violent struggle ensued. During the fight, Knapp allegedly drew a loaded gun, aimed at the officers and pulled the trigger.

The gun jammed.

Police believe a mechanism in the weapon may have been damaged during the tussle. Officers managed to disarm Knapp before he could try another shot, though the desperate fray continued until one of them downed Knapp with a Taser.

Knapp and some of the officers were taken to a nearby hospital. A search of Knapp’s vehicle allegedly revealed two more loaded guns and a half-pound of cocaine.

Contacted via email, Folsom police Detective Melanie Catanio said that while the incident was “very rare,” it demonstrated why officers regularly train for split-second decisions. “The officers involved in this incident are grateful to have come out it alive and with minor injuries,” Catanio wrote.

Knapp, a Folsom resident, was booked into Sacramento County jail on charges of attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

Folsom City Councilman Roger Gaylord told SN&R the incident was a reminder that violence can spill into suburbs with relatively low crime rates.

“I think it shows why people should stay vigilant,” Gaylord said. “If you look at how fast it happened and how quickly they handled it—inside a store of all places—and that no shots were fired and no one was hurt, it’s the best possible result that could have happened.”

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