SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Two Sacramento police officers were wounded in a gunbattle with a murder suspect Thursday even as law enforcement colleagues gathered to mourn a deputy from a neighboring agency who was killed in a shootout last week.
The two police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the suspect, wanted in a double killing, died after the late-morning gunfight in south Sacramento, the department said on its Twitter account. The officers and the suspect were not immediately identified.
At the same time, hundreds were attending a memorial service in Roseville for Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Robert French, who was remembered as a hero who kept firing even after he was mortally wounded in a shooting at an area hotel.
Sheriff Scott Jones said that French "even in death, stood tall as a warrior, continued to fight until everybody else was safe."
Jones said earlier this week that French responded after Thomas Daniel Littlecloud, 32, began firing at other deputies and California Highway Patrol officers who were investigating two stolen cars at the hotel. Two CHP officers were wounded but were recovering.
French, 52, kept shooting even after a bullet bypassed his bulletproof vest and entered his heart, Jones said.
Littlecloud had a lengthy criminal record and was wanted by authorities.
"I feel angry that his killer should never have been out of prison," Jones said. And after Littlecloud died at the hospital several days later, "I was just angry that he escaped the justice system."
Jones and other officers had their badges covered in black mourning bands as they spoke before a flag-draped coffin flanked by a white-gloved honor guard.
French was killed on the 10th anniversary of his parents' deaths in a plane crash. His children told the Sacramento Bee that French's parents died at a Northern California airport on Aug. 30, 2007, as they took off for a trip to Mexico.
In Southern California, two police officers were wounded Thursday while responding to a 7 a.m. report of a man slashing tires in Huntington Beach, Police Chief Robert Handy said.
During a confrontation with the suspect, at least one of the officers opened fire, striking him, police said.
Both officers were hit as well, one in the lower extremities and one in the torso, Handy said.
The two officers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, he said.
The chief said investigators "can't say it was a friendly-fire incident" but that there was no indication of another suspect.
"There could've been a ricochet, there could have been all kinds of things," he said.
The suspect also was hospitalized with injuries that weren't considered life-threatening. A knife was found at the scene, Handy said.