Crime - Sacto 911

Parole denied to man who shot El Dorado deputy in 1990

Booking photo of Brian Montgomery
Booking photo of Brian Montgomery El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office

A man who shot an El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy nine times more than a quarter century ago has been denied parole.

Brian Keith Montgomery, 49, was sentenced to 7 years to life, plus 8 years, for attempted murder of a peace officer. He is incarcerated at California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville.

In the early evening of Dec. 4, 1990, El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff Robert “Jay” Pepper pulled Montgomery over for speeding in the remote community of Somerset, 17 miles south of Placerville.

As Pepper walked up to his car, Montgomery turned to him, said “Good evening officer,” and then fired a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle through the car window at point-blank range. He sped away but was captured the next day.

Pepper, who recovered, was back on duty by the time Montgomery was sentenced a year later.

Pepper reported seeing a faint muzzle flash and hearing “eight or nine reports ... coming in split-second succession.” He suffered nine wounds to the chest, shoulder, side, abdomen and back.

Two bullets were stopped by the strike plate of his bulletproof vest and another by a wallet containing his badge, which he had in a shirt pocket.

Montgomery has since told prison medical personnel that he was so confused by methamphetamine that night he thought Pepper was going to shoot him, so he decided to shoot the officer first.

It was the first shooting of an El Dorado County officer since 1864, when Deputy Joe Staples was fatally shot after pursuing and trying to apprehend men who had just robbed a stagecoach.

Montgomery had his eighth parole hearing on March 3 at the prison. Montgomery urged the board to let him go.

Pepper, who has since retired, spoke at the hearing by telephone and urged the board to deny parole. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office argued that Montgomery still represents a danger to the public.

“Only six months ago, Montgomery was caught fighting with another inmate,” the district attorney’s office noted in a press release.

The board denied parole for Montgomery on the basis that the inmate presents a risk to the public and does not have proper insight into why he committed the crime, according to the DA.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews