Crime - Sacto 911

Man suspected of fatally shooting Sacramento sheriff’s deputy has died

The man suspected of fatally shooting a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy and injuring two California Highway Patrol officers in a shootout Wednesday died from his injuries on Saturday, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Thomas Daniel Littlecloud, 32, was named by the department as the gunman who fatally shot deputy Robert French as he fled from a room at the Ramada Inn on Auburn Boulevard. Auto theft investigators with an inter-agency task force were attempting to enter the room when they say someone fired multiple rounds through the walls, striking two undercover CHP officers.

Littlecloud was seen carrying a high-powered assault rifle as he fled from the hotel’s balcony into a nearby car, shooting French in the process, the department said. He led officers on a vehicle pursuit south on Fulton Avenue and then east on El Camino Avenue before crashing the car just west of Watt Avenue.

French, a 21-year veteran of the department assigned to the North Patrol Division, died on his way to the hospital.

The incident began earlier that day, when members of the auto theft task force spotted two women get into a stolen car at the hotel at around 9:30 a.m. Instead of stopping for the officers, the car led police on a high-speed chase before pulling over in Elk Grove, department spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull said.

The driver of the car, Oakland resident Priscilla Prendez, 23, was arrested for felony evasion and vehicle theft in the incident. The other woman was questioned and later let go.

Prendez was on searchable probation during her arrest and investigators learned that she had a room at the Ramada Inn registered under her name, the department said after the shooting. When officers returned to the Ramada Inn to search the room, knocking on the door and announcing themselves as law enforcement, they were met with gunfire from the other side of the wall.

Littlecloud was taken into custody and taken to a local hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds after the crash, Turnbull said. The vehicle he drove was also stolen, coming out of the Bay Area, the department said.

Littlecloud was running from police at the time of the shooting, eluding authorities since July after failing to appear in court for two separate cases. One of those cases involved a federal indictment charging him with methamphetamine and weapons possession and identity theft. The other stemmed from a 2015 weapons case in Sonoma County in which a judge issued a $50,000 bench warrant for his arrest.

A Castro Valley resident, Littlecloud had a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2004 and that included charges of assaulting a peace officer, assault with a semiautomatic weapon and car theft.

French is survived by three adult children, grandchildren and a girlfriend. A memorial service for the deputy is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Roseville’s Bayside Adventure Church. A viewing ceremony at East Lawn Mortuary on Greenback Lane will be held the day before.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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