VIDEO: Sheriff’s deputy killed, 2 CHP officers shot at motel in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (KTXL) — Two California Highway Patrol officers and one Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy were shot Wednesday at the Ramada Inn at Fulton Avenue and Auburn Boulevard.

The deputy, identified as Bob French, was killed. French was a 21-year veteran with the department, according to KRON4’s affiliate KTXL.

A multi-agency auto theft task force was investigating suspects at the Ramada Inn. One stolen vehicle led officers on a chase that ended in Elk Grove. Two women were taken into custody, according to Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Tony Turnbull.

Deputy Robert “Bob” French (Courtesy: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department)

When officers went into the motel to search the room, a suspect opened fire through the door and walls, striking two CHP officers. Sheriff’s deputies were engaged in a gun battle with the shooter, who Turnbull says was on the room’s balcony with a “high-powered rifle.” At some point, French was struck by gunfire.

The gunman fled the hotel in another vehicle. Turnbull says when the chase ended in a crash on El Camino Avenue, there was another exchange of gunfire. The suspect was hit and taken to a hospital.

The two CHP officers are expected to recover.

The suspect is 31 years old and is from the Bay Area.

Officers at the motel are evacuating the building to ensure no other suspects are on scene. Investigators believe there may be two other people still inside the motel room where the two officers were shot.

The intersection of Fulton and Auburn was shut down. Those exits on the Business 80 freeway were also shut down, severely impacting traffic.

A helicopter above the scene was warning neighbors to lock doors and stay inside.

El Camino High School and Arcade Middle School both sheltered in place for a short time. Students at El Camino High School were dismissed on the Eastern Avenue side of campus, not the El Camino Avenue side.

The task force the officers belong to is known as the Sacramento County Auto Theft Suppression Task Force, or SACCAT. It’s managed by the California Highway Patrol, and made up of officers from the CHP, the Sheriff’s Department and the county Probation Department.

They conduct street level vehicle theft enforcement and investigate chop shops and theft rings. SACCAT is partially funded by DMV registration fees.

Here is a statement from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“On behalf of the men and women of the California Department of Justice, I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Deputy Robert French, who lost his life in the line of duty while serving his community. Deputy French’s commitment to service will be remembered with gratitude. My team at the Department of Justice is available to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department to assist in any way possible during this difficult time.”

And here’s a statement from Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Anne and I join all of Sacramento in grieving the loss of Deputy French, who died today while protecting our community. On behalf of all Californians, we extend our condolences to his family, friends and law enforcement brothers and sisters.”

Deputy French, 52, was fatally shot today while assisting with an investigation at a hotel in Sacramento. Two California Highway Patrol officers were also injured during the incident and are expected to survive.

Deputy French was a 21-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and served in a variety of assignments. He is survived by his girlfriend, adult children, grandchildren and sister.

In honor of Deputy French, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Here is a statement from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office:

A little after 9:30 a.m. on August 30, 2017, members of the Sacramento County Auto Theft Task Force were conducting an investigation near the Ramada Inn located in the 2600 block of Auburn Boulevard in Sacramento. The task force is comprised of investigators from the California Highway Patrol, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and Sacramento County Probation Department.

Investigators located a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn. Two adult females entered the car. Officers attempted a vehicle stop on the suspect car, when a pursuit ensued. The pursuit terminated in Elk Grove, and both the females were taken into custody.

As detectives investigated further, they found one of the females to be on searchable probation and was registered to a room at the Ramada Inn. Detectives returned to the Ramada Inn to search the room. They gave knock and noticed and announced themselves as law enforcement in case anybody else was inside the room. A suspect inside the room fired multiple shots through the front door and walls of the room. Two California Highway Patrol investigators were struck by gunfire from the suspect.

There were Sacramento Sheriff’s deputies positioned on the back side of the motel room. The suspect then attempted to exit through the back balcony of the motel room holding a high powered assault rifle. The suspect engaged the deputies in gunfire, striking one deputy. The suspect fled from the balcony into a nearby car.

The armed suspect led officers on a pursuit south on Fulton Avenue and then east on El Camino Avenue. The suspect crashed the vehicle just west of Watt Avenue, and engaged pursuing officers. The suspect was struck by gunfire and detained. He was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital, where he is in currently in critical condition.

Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail and Sacramento Police Department’s SWAT team established perimeter on the motel. They isolated the room where the shooting took place, not knowing whether there were additional suspects inside the room. Residents of the motel were directed to shelter in place. After several hours, the tactical teams entered the motel room and deemed it safe. The scene was handed over to Homicide detectives.

The two wounded California Highway Patrol Officers are being treated at a local hospital. They are in stable condition and expected to survive. Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French, 52, died of his injuries enroute to the hospital. Deputy French was a 21 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, and assigned to the North Patrol Division. Deputy French leaves behind three adult children, grandchildren, a sister, and live-in girlfriend.

The investigation into the incident will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Professional Standards Division, which is standard practice for any officer-involved shooting that occurs in the Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdiction. Independent review of the officer involved shooting will be conducted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Inspector General. In accordance with the Sheriff’s Department policies and procedures, the six other deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

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