Crime - Sacto 911

Deputy shoots gunman fleeing from pursuers in North Highlands

A pursuit Friday afternoon in North Highlands led to the southwest corner of Watt Avenue and Elkhorn Boulevard, into a shopping center that includes a Rite Aid pharmacy. The chase through the shopping center ended with a deputy shooting a man who deputies say fired at people pursuing him.
A pursuit Friday afternoon in North Highlands led to the southwest corner of Watt Avenue and Elkhorn Boulevard, into a shopping center that includes a Rite Aid pharmacy. The chase through the shopping center ended with a deputy shooting a man who deputies say fired at people pursuing him. clocke@sacbee.com

A chase through the parking lot of a North Highlands shopping center Friday afternoon ended with a deputy wounding a man who authorities said fired a gun at people pursuing him.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department received a report about 12:40 p.m. from a woman who said a man in his 20s had followed her in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at the northeast corner of Watt Avenue and Elkhorn Boulevard. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Bowman said the woman reported that the man, whom she did not know, yelled and cursed at her. She told deputies he then reached into a backpack and said, “I have something for you.”

Bowman said the woman then went into the 7-Eleven store and called the Sheriff’s Department. When deputies arrived and approached the man, he dropped his backpack and took off running.

He ran to the southwest corner of Watt and Elkhorn, into a shopping center occupied by several fast-food restaurants and other businesses.

Bowman said several people joined in the chase, trying to head the man off. Outside a Popeyes restaurant at the south end of the center, a man in a red truck gave chase. When he got out of the truck – carrying what witnesses variously described as a cane, a stick or a baseball bat – the fleeing man pulled a gun and fired at him, Bowman said. The gunshot missed the driver of the truck.

The gunman ran into a field at the south end of the shopping center with people still in pursuit. Bowman said the gunman fired at least one additional round at the pursuers, none of whom was hit.

She said a sheriff’s deputy approaching from the opposite end of the field waited until he had a clear shot and fired at the gunman, hitting him in an arm and causing him to drop the gun. Bowman said the man was bleeding profusely but continued to be combative as deputies arrested him. He was taken to a hospital, and Bowman said his wound was not believed to be life-threatening. His name has not been released. Once he is medically cleared, Bowman said, he will be booked into Sacramento County jail.

She said deputies found a gun in the field.

Bowman said it is a natural reaction for people to want to help out in situations like this, but law enforcement officials don’t encourage it. As in this case, she said, officers often don’t know the history of the person they are pursuing, including whether the person has an outstanding warrant or a gun.

“We’re very thankful citizens were not hit,” she said.

Bowman said detectives interviewed witnesses and the woman who originally reported being accosted. Anyone with information can call the Sheriff’s Department at (916) 874-5115.

The deputy who shot the gunman is a 19-year veteran of the department assigned to field and investigative services, authorities said. In accordance with Sheriff’s Department procedures, the deputy will be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, sheriff’s officials said.

The investigation will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Professional Standards Division, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, as is now standard for all shootings by officers in the county, they said.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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