Transportation

How Sacramento light rail intends to keep riders safe at station where deputy was shot

A Regional Transit police officer checks the ticket of a rider near a train at the Watt/ I-80 station on Monday, July 31, 2017 in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento's light rail operator has installed 14 surveillance cameras and made other safety improvements at the North Highlands station where a deputy was shot in the face last month during a scuffle on the station platform.
A Regional Transit police officer checks the ticket of a rider near a train at the Watt/ I-80 station on Monday, July 31, 2017 in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento's light rail operator has installed 14 surveillance cameras and made other safety improvements at the North Highlands station where a deputy was shot in the face last month during a scuffle on the station platform. rpench@sacbee.com

Sacramento’s light rail operator has installed 14 surveillance cameras and made other safety improvements at the North Highlands station where a deputy was shot in the face last month during a scuffle on the station platform.

Deputy Alex Ladwig was shot June 27 at the Watt Avenue and I-80 station, allegedly by a man whom Ladwig had approached to check for his train ticket. Sheriff’s officials called the attack unprovoked, based on witness statements and video of the incident.

Ladwig, a four-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department currently assigned to Sacramento Regional Transit, was released from the hospital two weeks ago after surgery, and reportedly was in good condition and good spirits.

A suspect, Nicory Marquis Spann, 27, was later arrested nearby. Spann has an extensive criminal record, including involvement in a double homicide in the Bay Area a decade ago.

SacRT officials say the Watt/I-80 station is their “most challenged” station, partly because it is more isolated than other stations, situated away from homes and other businesses. Also, the station sits near the freeway, beneath Watt Avenue, requiring some users to take the stairs or an elevator to get down to the platform.

Agency officials had targeted the station for cleanup and increased security prior to the shooting.

“For the past week, construction crews have been busy installing new surveillance cameras, and a new gate to limit access to the elevators and stairwell when light rail service ends each day,” SacRT spokeswoman Wendy Williams wrote in a press statement Monday.

With the added cameras, the Watt Avenue station now has a total of 20. Cameras monitor the stairwells, the station platforms and the parking areas. All of them can be watched in real time by employees on duty 24 hours a day in the RT security operations center.

“Every inch of the station is now visible at the (operations center),” Williams wrote. Several of the cameras can be tilted and zoomed remotely.

The agency next week will close the station’s elevators and stairwell when trains are not operating. SacRT installed a gate at the top of the stairwell.

Nicory Spann was arraigned Friday on suspicion of attempted murder in the shooting of a Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy at a Watt Avenue light rail stop.

Attorney Jennifer Mouzis, who is defending Nicory Spann, addresses reporters outside a Sacramento Superior Court courtroom Friday following Spann's arraignment on suspicion of attempted murder in the shooting of Alex Ladwig, a Sacramento County Sh

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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