Crime - Sacto 911

After deputy killed, porch lights go blue tonight to show support for law enforcement

A couple of homes in Turlock have blue lights for Autism Awareness Day in 2013. Local resident Robert Milward is hoping to do the same in Arden Arcade tonight by supplying 460 blue porch lights in solidarity with law enforcement after the death of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French.
A couple of homes in Turlock have blue lights for Autism Awareness Day in 2013. Local resident Robert Milward is hoping to do the same in Arden Arcade tonight by supplying 460 blue porch lights in solidarity with law enforcement after the death of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French. Modesto Bee

Arden Arcade resident Robert Milward is hoping to see blue porch lights on his way home tonight.

After Wednesday’s deadly shootout that killed Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Robert French and injured two California Highway Patrol officers, Milward is handing out blue light bulbs for porch light installation. He said he wants to help his neighborhood show its support for law enforcement.

On Thursday morning, he bought out Emigh Hardware’s supply of blue lightbulbs, 460 in all, and plans to offer them for free at his office between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. He and his 20 agents will also go door-to-door to hand them out to neighbors.

“We saw all the police and fire trucks (yesterday) and we knew this was something major,” he said.

His real estate office, Intero Real Estate Services, is at the corner of Watt and Pope avenues, about a mile and a half from the shootout at the Ramada Inn and just over a mile from where suspect Thomas Daniel Littlecloud crashed his getaway car and was captured by deputies.

“It is gut-wrenching to me, especially because we depend on them so much,” Milward said. “I live in this community, my office is in this community ... We want our sheriffs, highway patrol and law enforcement to recognize we support them.”

French, 52, was working Wednesday as part of an interagency stolen vehicle task force along with CHP and the Sacramento County Probation Department. According to the Sheriff’s Department, officers spotted a stolen car in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn and when they went to investigate, they were led on a high-speed chase by two women.

One of the women, Priscilla Prendez, was arrested when the chase ended in Elk Grove. She was registered to a room in the Ramada, so officers knocked on the door. The Sheriff’s Department said Littlecloud fired a high-powered rifle through the door, injuring the two CHP officers. Littlecloud then allegedly ran out the back balcony and got in a shootout with deputies in which French died.

Littlecloud attempted to flee, but he crashed his vehicle near Watt and El Camino avenues and was shot by law enforcement. He is in critical condition at a local hospital.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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