Many Sacramento police officers learned of the shootings of two of their colleagues by text message Thursday, while at the funeral of Deputy Robert French who was gunned down last week outside an Arden-Arcade hotel.
Thousands had gathered at Adventure Christian Church in Roseville to pay their respects to the slain officer.
“And so we all responded,” said Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, adding that still more Sacramento officers had been filling in for county deputies to allow them to attend French’s service. “…We had numerous officers respond to this call today from all sorts of agencies. We’re very thankful for all the agencies that assisted today.”
The two officers, a 27-year veteran whose protective vest likely saved his life from a shot to the torso, and a 12-year-veteran shot in the leg, were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The gunman, suspected of shooting two women to death on Janrick Avenue last week, died at the scene. He has been identified as Eric Arnold, 41, of Antelope.
The shooting Thursday was reported about 11 a.m., when the Sacramento officers had pulled over the suspect, driving a black Chevy S-10 pickup said to belong to one of the slain women. Firefighters had seen the truck leaving the Janrick Avenue house when they responded to a fire alarm there. Apparently, the suspect had tried to burn the bodies before he fled.
Police then tracked the vehicle as it traveled around the area with police observation devices, or PODs – small cameras able to read license plates. The truck passed through the Madison – Interstate 80 intersection shortly before dawn, then Watt and Fair Oaks around mid-morning, Hahn said.
Police were on the alert, and at 10:54 a.m., two patrol officers spotted the truck at 65th and Fruitridge, following it to 26th Avenue near Franklin Boulevard as they waited for backup. After they stopped the vehicle and the suspect emerged, he shot at the officers, who returned fire, killing him.
Franklin Boulevard was shut down for several hours, snarling traffic in the area.
Hahn would only identified the deceased man as the boyfriend of one of the slain women (the other female victim was her daughter). He would not comment on whether the man had any prior criminal history.
Hahn said he appreciated the surge of community support for local law enforcement in the wake of French’s death last week.
“I think that in closing, this is just an example of how fast things can happen and how dangerous this job is,” Hahn said.