Crime - Sacto 911

Man who wrested gun from Sacramento police officer charged with attempted murder

Juan Carlos Heras-Castro.
Juan Carlos Heras-Castro. Sacramento Police Department

The man who allegedly fired a Sacramento Police Department officer's gun after taking it from the officer's holster during a physical struggle in East Sacramento last week was charged with attempted murder on Monday, Shelly Orio, a department spokeswoman said.

Juan Carlos Heras-Castro, 33,was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on Jan. 22, hours after police say he fled from the officer while the two were at the Mercy General Hospital on J Street in East Sacramento.

Police initially made contact with Heras-Castro after receiving a call at around 11:08 a.m. about a man holding a knife at Elvas Avenue and 63rd Street, near the Sacramento State University campus, a department press release says. After detaining Heras-Castro, and securing the knife, officers at the scene decided he needed to go to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

It was while an officer and Heras-Castro were at the Mercy General Hospital that police say he fled on foot into a residential area nearby. The officer followed him, also on foot, until the two reached 39th and H streets, near the Sacred Heart Parish School, according to police.

The department described a combative Heras-Castro, saying he physically resisted the officer and that the two engaged in a "violent struggle", resulting in Heras-Castro taking the officer's police gun from his holster. As the officer was trying to get his gun back, Heras-Castro fired the weapon multiple times, police said.

Sacred Heart Parish School was put on lockdown for 24 minutes after the gunfire.

A passing off-duty firefighter saw the struggle and helped the officer take back his gun. The officer eventually detained Heras-Castro without firing any rounds, police say.

The officer suffered minor injuries from the incident. Heras-Castro was taken to the hospital but was then booked into jail at 8:48 p.m. later that day, police and inmate records show.

“The investigators have probable cause to believe he was attempting to kill our officer," said Sgt. Vance Chandler, a Sacramento Police Department spokesman.

The department declined to release Heras-Castro's name to the Sacramento Bee on Monday, with Sacramento police saying the department's detectives were not yet ready to make Heras-Castro's name public due to ongoing investigations into the incident. Monday's arraignment received no media coverage by local news organizations.

Heras-Castro is scheduled for a settlement conference on March 7.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee