By JONATHAN J. COOPER
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One law-enforcement officer was killed and two others wounded when a gunman carrying a high-powered rifle shot through the door of his hotel room, then leapt out over a balcony and led police on a brief chase.
He was captured minutes later when he crashed and was wounded by responding officers Wednesday.
Hotel guests were trapped in their rooms for most of the day as police methodically cleared the area and confirmed no other gunmen stayed behind in the hotel room.
Deputy Robert French, a 21-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, died from a gunshot wound to his side, Sheriff Scott Jones said.
“It was an extremely dynamic, horrific series of events,” Jones said.
The day began with a routine investigation by a car-theft task force involving officers from multiple agencies. Investigators suspected a car-theft ring was being run out of a Ramada Inn in an unincorporated neighborhood of Sacramento.
Two women who got into a stolen vehicle were chased for 20 miles before being apprehended in Elk Grove, south of Sacramento. Arresting officers learned they were staying at a room in the Ramada Inn.
When officers knocked on the door, a gunman opened fire through the door and walls, striking two California Highway Patrol officers before turning to the balcony, shooting French, who was outside monitoring the back door, and fleeing.
He was found with a rifle and high-capacity magazine, which are illegal to purchase in California, sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull said.
The names of the wounded officers were not released. Jones said they were taken to a hospital and expected to survive.