Sometime in June, Sammy Nathan Duran was released from the Placer County jail on parole, part of a regular pattern the 32-year-old Roseville native has established over the years.
And, as he has at least eight times since 2002, he soon had violated his parole and was being sought by Roseville police. A few nights back, he was spotted and chased but got away.
On Friday, things turned out differently, sparking a rolling firefight through a Roseville neighborhood and laying siege to the area until Duran emerged from a house he was hiding in just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday .
Two officers were shot during the melee and four others hit by shrapnel from gunfire. All are expected to survive, and only one – a Roseville officer shot in the jaw – remained hospitalized Saturday. He was in serious condition but expected to survive.
Duran suffered scrapes to his head and face and a bullet wound to his hand, then ended up back in the Placer County jail facing what authorities say will be “numerous attempted-murder charges.”
It all began with a bike ride Friday afternoon near a Roseville park.
According to events described Saturday afternoon by Roseville Police Chief Daniel Hahn, officers spotted Duran by chance.
A task force of crime-suppression officers working on incidents at nearby apartment complexes rolled by the park near the 200 block of Sixth Street at 3:03 p.m. Friday and saw Duran riding nearby.
The group, which included a U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement officer who recently joined the task force, recognized Duran as a wanted parolee and gave chase.
The ICE agent went after him on foot, while two others remained in their vehicle.
“The suspect ran from the officers and it soon became very clear that he was intent on getting away and even murdering any officer that stood in his way,” Hahn said.
Police say Duran opened fire with a handgun, hitting the ICE officer in a leg and sparking an “officer down” call that soon brought more than 100 law enforcement officials from nearly a dozen agencies to the area.
Within three minutes, police again exchanged gunfire with Duran as he ran through the neighborhood of aging ranch-style homes and duplexes, hopping fences.
Finally, he broke into a home in the 600 block of Hampton Drive, terrifying a couple and their young child before they fled to safety.
Police say Duran fired from the house twice, blasting through a wall and a window and starting a siege that lasted for more than six hours.
Hahn said Duran’s behavior was “what can happen in a community when a violent, wanted felon is completely committed to not going back to jail.”
The standoff forced police to evacuate about 15 homes overnight, especially after officers and residents suddenly detected a strong odor of natural gas and feared Duran had turned on the gas inside the house where he was hiding.
“The last thing we wanted was for that house and all the surrounding houses to blow up from all the gas igniting,” Hahn said. “We believe he turned on that gas.
“Why, we can’t know for sure at this point, but that was a major concern for us at that point.”
Crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. were called to turn off gas to the neighborhood and officers settled in for a painstaking series of negotiations to get Duran to emerge. Toward the end, a police robot was used to relay communications to him.
He finally agreed to surrender, emerging from the home and being taken away on an ambulance gurney.
“It took a lot of work on the negotiators’ part to have it end the way it did,” Hahn said.
Hahn emphasized that the investigation is continuing and would not release the injured officers’ names or many details of what happened Friday.
But he flatly rejected claims by some of Duran’s relatives, who live in the area, that Duran was fired on first by the federal officer or that the ICE agent had shot himself while drawing his weapon.
“All the evidence we have collected so far does not point to that,” Hahn said.
Police said during the siege that Duran may have been armed with an assault-style weapon, but Hahn declined to give details Saturday of what weapons Duran carried. The chief said police are certain Duran had a handgun at least, but would not say whether officers had recovered it.
Duran’s family members, some of whom stood at police barricades Friday night watching the events, said they believe police overreacted.
“This is out of proportion, he’s a parolee,” said Donna Sandoval, Duran’s aunt. “It didn’t have to happen like this.”
His brother, Toño, agreed.
“They’re trying to put him up as a straight-up killer, (but) my brother was respected in this neighborhood,” he said.
Hahn had a decidedly different viewpoint.
“He’s well known, he’s a validated gang member that our officers have been dealing with for many, many years,” the chief said.
Records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show Duran has convictions dating back to 2002 that include crimes such as possession of a controlled substance, assault with a deadly weapon, corporal injury upon a spouse, attempted carjacking and resisting an officer with the threat of violence.
By Saturday night, police were still limiting access to portions of the neighborhood, where they said they were investigating three separate crime scenes and were allowing residents in only if escorted by police.
A contingent of about a dozen FBI evidence-recovery team members scoured the area, as did Roseville police, while residents began trickling back home.
Ethel and Ted House returned to their Windsor Drive home late Saturday morning after arriving from work Friday to find heavily armed officers swarming Sixth Street and the stand of trees where Sammy Duran was thought to be hiding.
The Houses stuck it out behind barricades until nearly midnight, Ethel House said, their pit bulls, Benton and Lily, and chihuahua Peaches, stuck inside the house. By midnight, the couple gave up and checked into a nearby motel for the night.
“I’ve never seen so many police in my life,” Ethel House said. “We’re just glad they’re letting us in.”
A few feet away, FBI agents continued to comb their street for evidence while a group of neighbor kids played rock-paper-scissors in front of police cars and crime tape.