A stolen vehicle investigation at a Sacramento hotel ended in tragedy for a veteran Sacramento County sheriff's deputy, when a suspect opened fire from inside the room of a Ramada Inn.
The incident began when, as the Associated Press reports, police spotted an allegedly stolen Dodge Charger. The two women inside the vehicle led police on a 20-mile chase Wednesday before they were arrested.
Consequently, an "auto-theft task force consisting of CHP officers, sheriff’s deputies and probation officers" went to the hotel, the Bee reports. When officers knocked on the door of her room, a man inside the room allegedly opened fire, striking two CHP officers.
52-year-old Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Robert French was struck in the subsequent shootout. He died on the way to the hospital, Sheriff Scott Jones says.
The suspect, who has not been publicly identified except as "a 32-year-old man from the Bay Area," then "jumped off the balcony and got into a car in the parking lot. He escaped on Fulton Avenue, then turned onto El Camino Avenue and crashed near Watt Avenue. He then exchanged gunfire again with officers. He was struck and arrested," the Bee reports.
According to the AP, the suspect's gun "held a high-capacity magazine, which are now illegal to purchase in California."
The suspect remains hospitalized in critical condition. The injured CHP officers, whose names are currently being withheld, are expected to survive.
Jones says that French was a 21-year veteran of the sheriff's department, where he worked as a training officer. He is survived by his girlfriend (with whom he lived) as well as several adult children and grandchildren. In an odd note, CBS Sacramento notes that French was slain "ten years to the day his own parents died in a plane crash during takeoff at the Cameron Park airport."
French was the “go-to guy for advice and counsel, not just career advice but tactical advice and things like that,”Jones said at a Wednesday press conference.
“Words aren’t going to make an appropriate appreciation of him as a man or his career.”