Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner remembers the day Deputy James E. Machado was shot and killed nearly four decades ago.
“I passed him at the front door of the jail that day as I was getting off day shift and he was coming to work,” Bonner said of his friend and co-worker at what is now called the “old jail.” “I jokingly cautioned him to be safe. Later that evening, I received the tragic news.”
On Thursday, an Auburn intersection will be dedicated in memory of Machado, 30, who was killed July 13, 1978, with his own gun by James Lee Jensen. Jensen, of Colusa, had just escaped from Sierra View Mental Health Services center in Placer County. He was killed by police after being cornered on an Interstate 80 offramp.
I have always remembered him as a dedicated peace officer and a devoted family man.
Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner
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The public is invited to the ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday at Highway 49 and Elm Avenue in Auburn. At the time of his death, Machado and his wife, Nancy, were the parents of Jim, 7, Joy, 3, and 1-year-old Jeanne. The late deputy’s family, including son Jim, now a member of the military, will be flying in from several states to attend the ceremony.
A roadway sign will memorialize the intersection.
Machado, who had been with the Sheriff’s Office four years, was posthumously awarded the department’s Purple Heart in 2008.
The effort to honor Machado was undertaken by the Placer County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the Placer County Sheriff’s Council and the Placer 10-35 Foundation.