Crime - Sacto 911

Cardroom fight leads to gun battle involving officer; suspect remains at large

A suspect is on the run and a bystander is dead after a gunfight early Sunday outside Capitol Casino in Sacramento that involved two feuding groups and a police officer.

The incident began around 1:37 a.m. in the parking lot outside the popular card room at 411 N. 16th St., according to Sacramento Police Department spokesman Matthew McPhail.

Two groups began fighting outside until a Sacramento police officer and two security guards broke up the altercation, McPhail said. No weapons were used in the original fight. The groups were sent in different directions. The suspect was leaving out the 16th Street driveway when he turned around and fired shots at the other group. The officer was still between the two groups.

The officer then fired back at the suspect and took cover behind a private vehicle, McPhail said. They exchanged fire until the suspect fled. The vehicle was riddled with bullets but the officer was uninjured, McPhail said.

During the incident, an unidentified 36-year-old Sacramento bystander was shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, McPhail said.

Investigators believe that the victim was shot by the suspect based on where all of the parties were standing, McPhail said. At this time, police don’t believe the victim was involved in the original fight.

The suspect and the officer fired multiple times, McPhail said.

About 200 customers were inside or outside Capitol Casino at the time, he said. Police are still talking to witnesses, and the surrounding area on N. 16th Street remains closed to traffic. Police will review surveillance footage from the card room and the surrounding businesses to get a better idea of what happened, McPhail said.

The officer is a 20-year veteran of the department and was placed on administrative leave, which is protocol anytime an officer fires a gun during an incident, McPhail said. The officer was on-duty in a supplemental capacity at the casino.

The suspect remains on the loose.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for details.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @JesserPea

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