Crime - Sacto 911

Witnesses sought to officer-involved shooting in Newcastle

Placer County sheriff’s detectives would like to speak to two people who witnessed an officer-involved shooting that occurred July 10 as deputies sought to apprehend a homicide suspect in Newcastle.

The two people were in a sport-utility vehicle that was parked on Taylor Road, near the Newcastle Cemetery, about 2 a.m. The SUV is thought to be a Chevy Tahoe, possibly with a “Hawaii” sticker on the back window, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Sheriff’s officials said the SUV was on Taylor Road throughout the shooting, which ended with the arrest of 34-year-old Daniel Espinoza.

Espinoza is accused of killing his girlfriend, then firing on law enforcement officers.

Espinoza was seen struggling with his girlfriend in their car on Garnet Way in Auburn about 12:45 a.m. July 10 after they returned from a party at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, sheriff’s officials said. Shortly after the couple went inside an apartment, neighbors reported hearing a gunshot. Espinoza’s girlfriend was shot and killed.

After the shooting, Espinoza returned to the fairground, where a friend picked him up and took him to a house in Newcastle, sheriff’s officials said. Deputies searched the Newcastle Cemetery and came across Espinoza’s friend. As deputies spoke with the friend, Espinoza opened fire on the deputies from the driveway, officials said.

The deputies were not hit and returned fire until Espinoza ran out of bullets. Espinoza was then arrested and booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.

Detectives seek to obtain statements from the two people who were in the SUV during the shooting. The witnesses are asked to call Detective Mike Simmons at 530-889-7894.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy