ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities were expected to release details Thursday about how a deputy responding a roadside disturbance call in Northern California was shot to death a day earlier — becoming the state’s fourth law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty over the last two weeks.
Modoc County sheriff’s Deputy Jack Hopkins, 31, was fatally shot Wednesday morning after deputies were called to a rural area near the Oregon border.
A suspect was detained shortly afterward, authorities said, but few details about how the shooting happened were released ahead of a news conference planned for Thursday morning.
Hopkins joined the sheriff’s department last year, the sheriff’s office said.
His death comes after two Palm Springs police officers were shot and killed Oct. 8 during a domestic disturbance call and after a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant was gunned down Oct. 6 in the high desert town of Lancaster while answering a burglary call.
The killings in California are the latest in a string of fatal attacks on officers that includes ambushes in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A video posted late Wednesday to the Modoc County sheriff’s Facebook page showed about two dozen police cruisers with their emergency light illuminated driving down a street to honor Hopkins. The video was titled “Deputy Jack Hopkins Procession.”
Hopkins was recalled as a kind man in an homage posted on the Facebook page of the Alturas Municipal Airport. Modoc County bills itself as a place “where the west still lives.” Alturas, with fewer than 3,000 residents, is the county’s only incorporated city.
“When he pulled you over for a headlight, or something you did, he always was courteous and had a smile on his face. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body, just a great guy. He is missed by all of us,” the Facebook post said.
The county is nestled between the Nevada and Orgeon borders, in California’s high desert region. It spans about 4,000 square miles and its northern part is called the Modoc Plateau — a mile high expanse of lava flows, cinder cones, juniper flats, and pine forests.
Recreational enthusiasts flock to the nearly 1 million acres of the Modoc National Forest for hunting, hiking and fishing.