Kyle Rowland, the one-time local blues prodigy and music festival favorite turned sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced to a year’s work release and five years’ probation Friday after firing a weapon at a downtown Sacramento house party during a drunken, gun-wielding outburst last year.
Rowland, 24, had faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon, negligently discharging a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony in the January case, but Rowland in June pleaded no contest to the single count of discharging a firearm.
Rowland had no prior criminal record. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Thadd Blizzard found “unusual circumstances to grant probation,” according to minutes of the hearing.
Rowland was off duty and new to the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department when he attended the party on G Street near 11th Street in downtown Sacramento early Jan. 13, introducing himself as a “new neighbor” to partygoers. Rowland, who later admitted to being intoxicated, according to a probation report, fought with at least one guest before being told to leave the party.
Witnesses told police that Rowland wasn’t done. He returned to the party dressed in camouflage pants and a dark green shirt, his face covered in black paint, according to witness accounts contained in a probation report. He was armed with two weapons including one believed to be his duty weapon, Sacramento County prosecutors later said.
Rowland was met by another man at the party who pinned him against an outdoor fence. Rowland managed to raise one of his weapons and shoot it four times before he was tackled, beaten and disarmed by partygoers, witnesses told police. Police mugshots showed a bloodied and bruised Rowland after the incident. No one else was injured.
Rowland later was dismissed from the Contra Costa County force.
Rowland had emerged as a local harmonica wunderkind while still in grade school. He was discovered and later mentored by Sacramento blues elder statesman Mick Martin. Martin and others in the area’s blues community appeared for Rowland’s January arraignment.
Rowland’s group, the Kyle Rowland Blues Band, has played the Sacramento Music Festival, and has been a popular booking at venues such as downtown Sacramento’s Torch Club. In 2009, Rowland was hailed as “Blues New Artist of the Year” by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.