The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has exonerated three Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies in the fatal shooting of Adriene Jamarr Ludd that began with an attempted traffic stop and car chase in October 2015.
Three Sheriff’s deputies shot Ludd 13 times after he pointed an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine at officers, according to the DA’s report.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert investigates all county officer-involved fatal shootings to determine if police acted legally. Police have legal latitude to use deadly force if they think their lives or bystander lives are in jeopardy.
The Ludd case is one of three officer-involved shootings that Sacramento Black Lives Matter has questioned in the past year. Activists protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting in July, calling it a case of excessive force.
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The District Attorney’s Office ruled that the three deputies “shot Ludd in self-defense” after he attempted to ambush them. “But for his gun being temporarily inoperable, it is almost certain that Ludd would have killed or seriously wounded” the deputies, the report states.
The incident began just before noon in Carmichael when a Sheriff’s deputy observed Ludd driving a maroon Chevy Impala with expired registration. The officer attempted to pull Ludd over, but Ludd didn’t stop. He sped through two stops signs at high speed before abruptly stopping to let a male passenger out of the car.
That passenger surrendered to the deputy, but Ludd drove on.
Two Sheriff’s deputies in an unmarked car that did have sirens and lights joined the chase. Ludd drove down a residential street with homes on one side and an open field on the other. He turned the car to put it between himself and deputies before exiting.
The report said that Ludd had an Intratec Tec-22 semi-automatic pistol with a clear plastic high-capacity magazine. Officers and witnesses said Ludd pointed the weapon at the Sheriff’s deputies across the top of the car, and the District Attorney’s report said dash cam footage confirmed the presence of the gun.
Ludd’s gun malfunctioned and Ludd was unable to fire. Later investigation found that it had two intact cartridges “jammed in the chamber,” according to the report.
But the two deputies were not aware of Ludd’s gun trouble at the time.
“The deputies believed Ludd was going to kill them,” said the report, and both fired for about six seconds.
Ludd ducked behind the car, which was struck multiple times. Deputy David McEntire “backpedaled as he fired,” and “tripped and fell backwards, unsure of whether he had been shot.”
When his partner, Deputy Benjamin Green, saw him fall, he did not know McEntire was injured. A volunteer chaplain riding with Deputy Troy Mohler said he witnessed Ludd “lay a gun over the roof of the car” before he “started blasting.”
Green exited his car and the report said he had no cover between himself and Ludd’s car. About 40 seconds after the first barrage of shots, Mohler “squatted down to try to see under Ludd’s car.” The report said Mohler then fired at Ludd.
Green began approaching Ludd’s car and also fired more shots. Green saw “Ludd fall backward and then roll himself back over onto his stomach,” said the report.
McEntire got up and took cover. He fired a shot under the trunk of the Impala and apparently hit Ludd’s hand, knocking the gun away.
Ludd began crawling toward the weapon, according to the officers’ testimony. All three deputies began firing again.
About fifty-nine shots were fired by police, based on cartridges recovered at the scene. Ludd was struck 13 times, including three shots to his head.
In addition to the Tec-22, police found a Raven Arms MP-25 handgun with six .25 caliber cartridges in its magazine “stuck in a hole in Ludd’s pant pocket.”
Inside the car, police found a semi-automatic 9mm Tec-DC9 pistol and multiple types of ammunition. Police also found marijuana, cocaine base, meth and heroin.
Ludd’s blood tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to a lab report referenced by the District Attorney.