Two Sacramento police officers were wounded Thursday in a shootout that killed a suspect wanted in the slayings of a mother and daughter in Meadowview last week.
The shooting unfolded in the same hour that hundreds of officers from around the region and the state gathered in Roseville for the memorial service for Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Robert French, who was killed last week in a shootout near a Ramada Inn on Auburn Boulevard in Sacramento County. The suspect in that case, Thomas Littlecloud, also died of gunshot wounds. Sacramento police Chief Dan Hahn said many officers who responded to the scene had come directly from French’s memorial service.
“As we’re sitting there waiting for a funeral for one of our fallen law enforcement brothers, we get a text that one of our officers has been shot,” Hahn said in a late afternoon press conference.
The confrontation started when a police camera scanning license plates identified a Black Chevy S10 pickup truck being sought in connection with the double homicide Friday at 1466 Janrick Ave. The surveillance “hit” put the vehicle at Interstate 80 near Watt Avenue, said police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein. Officers in marked cars began following the vehicle at about 65th Street and Fruitridge Road while they waited for backup. After 10 minutes the driver pulled over on 37th Avenue.
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“At no point did the officers actually initiate a traffic stop. We were trying to get into position to make a safe approach in this vehicle,” Heinlein said. Once the vehicle stopped, officers began yelling instructions.
Hahn said the driver appeared to comply at first, throwing his keys out of the car window. But he refused to show his hands, and he got out of the car shooting.
“He got off multiple rounds before our officers were able to return fire,” Hahn said.
One officer was shot in his bullet proof vest, the other struck in the leg. Neither of their injuries were life threatening, and they are expected to be released from the hospital soon, Hahn said.
Because officers were involved in Thursday’s shooting, the district attorney, internal affairs and the Office of Public Safety Accountability were expected to visit the scene. “They will be jointly investigating the case,” Heinlein said.
Hahn declined to identify the suspect because his next of kin had not been notified of his death. He did say, however, that he was the boyfriend of one of the women killed Friday, and that the other woman killed was her daughter.
Police have not identified the victims or the manner in which they died, other than to say the bodies of two women were found after a carbon monoxide alarm brought a fire crew to the house. Hahn said the fire crew saw the vehicle leaving the scene as they arrived.
Neighbors and family on Thursday identified the victims as Erica Wallace and her daughter, Kiara LaSalle. Public records confirm that a woman named Erica Michele Wallace, 45, owns the house on Janrick Avenue.
Hahn said Friday that the suspect had shot the two women and attempted to burn their bodies, which triggered the smoke alarm and brought the Fire Department to the scene.
“Investigators have been working tirelessly to locate this vehicle and this suspect,” he said.
Marcella Lucas, an older daughter of Erica Wallace, stopped by the house to get the mail on Thursday. She described her mother, who she said worked in the billing department at UC Davis Medical Center, as “rambunctious and fun.” Lucas said her sister was “quiet and reserved but liked to dance. She liked to listen to music.”
Kiara LaSalle was 17 and recently graduated from Kennedy High School, Lucas said. She worked in retail and volunteered at an animal shelter. Lucas said her sister was developmentally disabled but able to function well on her own and planned on attending Sacramento City College.
The bodies had remained in the house for more than 24 hours, Lucas said, because police told her they had not been identified and could not be removed.
Lucas said Wallace had a live-in boyfriend who went by the name Dwan Hughley, whom she met about three years ago on a dating website called Blackplanet.com. He described himself as an independent contractor who bought items from thrift stores and resold them, said Lucas.
Wallace had decided to split with him, Lucas said. “I know that she wanted him to leave.”
A source close to the family said the boyfriend’s real name was Eric Dwan Arnold. The source said Wallace had become aware that her live-in boyfriend was using more than one name in late July or early August after a “failure to appear” notice from a traffic ticket arrived at the house.
Sacramento Superior Court records show that a man named Eric Dwan Arnold, also known as Dwan Huguley, faced charges of resisting arrest in 1998, which were later dismissed.
Angelina Ayala, who lives across the street, said that on the day of the homicide, Arnold rapidly backed out of the driveway in his black truck just as the fire truck arrived, and proceeded to back all the way down the street.
“I thought the fire truck was going to hit him,” she said. She said he expected Arnold to come back and help, but “he just didn’t come back.”
Next door neighbor Ruby Payne said the house had an automatic alarm system that would have notified the Fire Department that the smoke detector had gone off. She said police told her that there was a small fire in the house, but she hadn’t smelled smoke because the air was already so smoky from the recent wildfires.
Payne said Kiara LaSalle would sometimes come over to visit with her. The girl was picked up by Paratransit each morning, she said.
“I was speechless,” she said of hearing about Kiara’s death. “I couldn’t talk. I was devastated. I knew that young girl. She was just getting started.”
Laura Bravo, another neighbor, said she has seen flashlights shining in the backyard and lights on in the house in the days since the bodies of Wallace and LaSalle were found. She said she saw a man and a woman in the backyard on Monday night.
Wallace’s gold Mercedes SUV remained parked in the driveway Thursday, with what appeared to be blood spattered on its exterior and interior.
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Bee reporter Cathy Locke contributed to this report.