Crime - Sacto 911

Deputy shot at in south Sacramento, suspects remain at large

Authorities called off their searches Thursday for a suspect who shot at a sheriff’s deputy in south Sacramento and his companion, who led officers on a high-speed chase to rural Yolo County.

Their identities, including the gender of the driver, remain unknown, said Sgt. Tony Turnbull, Sacramento County sheriff’s spokesman.

The deputy was not injured, he said.

The incident began shortly before 3 a.m., when the deputy stopped a white Lincoln for a traffic infraction near Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road. A male passenger in the Lincoln got out and fired a handgun at the deputy, who was still in the patrol car. Several shots hit the car, Turnbull said.

The deputy returned fire, and the shooter got back into the car. The driver and passenger fled, traveling south on Stockton Boulevard for 200 to 300 yards before stopping, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release.

At that point, the passenger got out and fired again. He ran into the neighborhood near Stockton Boulevard and Jansen Drive as the driver sped away, it said. Deputies were unable to find him after an hours-long search.

“He may have known somebody in the area and ducked into a house pretty quickly,” Turnbull said.

The shooting suspect was described a Hispanic male wearing a gray checkered shirt, light pants and a hat, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Deputies pursued the Lincoln onto northbound Highway 99, traveling at speeds over 100 mph, the news release said. The chase continued onto northbound Interstate 5, with officers from the California Highway Patrol and Yolo County Sheriff’s Office assisting.

Near the rural community of Zamora, about 30 miles north of Sacramento, the Lincoln crashed when it hit spike strips that officers had deployed, authorities said.

The driver ran into an area of fields and orchards and was not found.

“Perimeters and searches were set up at both scenes,” the news release said. “An exhaustive search of the area around the shooting scene was conducted by helicopter ground units, and K9 with negative results.”

The search for the passenger, which shut down Stockton Boulevard, was called off after 9 a.m.

A search for the driver, using a helicopter and ground units, was suspended Thursday.

Turnbull said it was unclear if the driver was a man or a woman, given the low lighting at the time of the stop.

He said authorities don’t know why the passenger shot at the deputy.

“It could be anything,” Turnbull said. “Vehicle-code violation stops are never run-of-the-mill. You never know who is in the car. You don’t know if they are wanted, or if they just committed a crime. That’s what makes it so dangerous.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews