The line of duty killing of a Northern California deputy sheriff Friday occurred 26 years to the day his deputy sheriff father died in the line of duty when his helicopter crashed during a pursuit of drug smugglers.
Michael Davis Jr., 42, of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office was 16 when his father was killed on Oct. 24, 1988. Davis followed Michael Davis Sr. into law enforcement when he got older.
Davis was shot to death Friday morning when a 34-year old man went on a shooting rampage in the Sacramento area. Authorities said the gunman also killed a Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy and wounded two others, Davis’ partner and a 38-year-old Sacramento civilian.
“I looked at my calendar and said, ‘Oh, God,’” Rick Kotholow, a retired Riverside County deputy sheriff told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Kothlow told the paper he worked with the elder Davis in Riverside and it was he who knocked on the door to tell Davis’ wife of the helicopter crash. He said Davis Jr. was the one who opened the door.
The helicopter was carrying Davis’ 34-year-old father, four other deputy sheriffs and three National Guardsmen as part of Operation Border Ranger, a joint drug smuggling interdiction operation near the Mexico border. The chopper snagged on a power line and exploded in a hillside, according to the website of the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation.
The suspect , described as a "one-man crime spree," Marcelo Marques of Salt Lake City eluded hundreds of searchers before being hunted down and forced to surrender, authorities said.
He was examined at a hospital for unknown injuries.
"I think there's those people who would say, 'You know what, I wish you'd killed him,'" Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said at a news conference Friday evening, according to Fox 40 Sacramento. "Now, that's not who we are. We are not him. We did our job."
Marquez, 34, and a woman also taken into custody were questioned by investigators about their motives late Friday night, said Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Lisa Bowman said.
It wasn't immediately clear when they would be formally booked.
The deadly chain of events began around 10:30 a.m. when Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, was shot in the forehead with an assault rifle at close range as he checked out a suspicious car in a Motel 6 parking lot, authorities said.
Oliver, 47, was the first county deputy killed since 2008. The 15-year veteran left a wife and two daughters.
"He was not able to return fire or do anything" but his partner was able to shoot back, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said.
The car, which had a man and woman inside, then drove about a mile and the couple tried to carjack a driver and shot him in the head when he refused to give up his keys, authorities said.
Anthony Holmes, 38, of Sacramento, was listed in serious condition at a hospital Friday night, the Sacramento Bee reported
The attackers then stole another car and finally took a red Ford pickup from Jose Cruz, who was gardening outside a client's house in Sacramento.
Cruz told the Bee that a man in a white Ford Mustang convertible told him: "I need a favor."
"What's the favor?" Cruz asked.
"Your keys," the man said. "Hurry up, because they're chasing me...I don't want to hurt you."
Cruz said the man pointed a gun at him and had a bloody shirt wrapped around his other arm.
The couple then fled to neighboring Placer County, about 30 miles north of Sacramento, authorities said.In Auburn, the truck briefly pulled over to the side of a road where Davis and his partner Jeff Davis (no relation) spotted it and approached.
The gunman shot them with an AR-15-type assault weapon, Placer County sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.
Davis, assigned to homicide investigations, died at a hospital. He was a 15-year veteran of the department and a father of four.
Davis, a 17-year veteran, was shot in the arm. He was released after treatment at a hospital.
"This guy was on a one-man crime spree today. He has no idea of the damage he did," Erwin said.
Dozens of deputies flooded the area but the gunman fled into a neighborhood near a high school and ran into a home.
Police finally used tear gas to flush Marquez from the basement of the home, witnesses said.
The long manhunt involved hundreds of officers from multiple agencies backed by search dogs, helicopters and armored vehicles. Residents nearby were told to stay indoors, and schools were locked down during the search.
Flags at the state Capitol were ordered flown at half-staff and Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement extending his sympathy to the families of the slain officers.
Their "brutal murders," Brown said, "...are a tragic reminder of the sacrifices we demand of our peace officers and the incredible courage they display as they protect our communities."
The slaying of the deputies was the single deadliest day for California law enforcement since February 2013. In separate incidents that month, former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner killed two law enforcement officers, and two Santa Cruz police detectives were shot and killed.