Crime - Sacto 911

Man who fled mental health evaluation, wrestled gun from Sacramento cop dies in jail

Sacramento Police release body cam footage of man wrestling officer to the ground, stealing duty weapon

After responding to reports of a man with a knife near Elvas Avenue and J Street, Sacramento Police body cam footage shows the man wrestling a police officer to the ground and stealing and firing the officer's gun.
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After responding to reports of a man with a knife near Elvas Avenue and J Street, Sacramento Police body cam footage shows the man wrestling a police officer to the ground and stealing and firing the officer's gun.

A man suspected of stealing a police officer’s gun and shooting it several times in February was found dead in his Sacramento County jail cell Tuesday night.

A guard came by to check on Juan Heras-Castro’s single cell about 9:56 p.m. and found nothing unusual, according to a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department news release. At 10:38 p.m., jail staff began providing inmates with their nightly medication.

Six minutes later, they found Heras-Castro, 33, unresponsive in his cell with no evidence of foul play, according to the release. Sheriff’s deputies attempted life-saving measures but were unsuccessful, and declared him dead about 11 p.m.

Police took Heras-Castro to Mercy General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation in late February after finding him behaving erratically and armed with a knife near Sacramento State’s campus. He then fled the hospital into a nearby residential area before wrestling with a police officer near 39th and H streets.

During the struggle, Heras-Castro allegedly took the officer's gun from his holster and fired several shots. An off-duty firefighter who happened to be in the area intervened and helped the officer detain him without serious injury.

Body-cam video of the incident was released after Heras-Castro was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, which court records show was the Modesto resident’s first criminal charge in Sacramento or Stanislaus counties.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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