A Shooting that took place on Wednesday near a Ramada Inn in Sacramento County has taken the life of one Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy, while two California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers have been injured. The shooting incident happened while the officers were investigating a stolen vehicle operation.

Officers shot during auto theft investigation

According to Sheriff Scott Jones, Robert French, 52, was a 21-year veteran with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office and passed away en route to the hospital from his injuries. Of the two injured CHP officers, one was taken to hospital for treatment and doctors expect him to be released shortly.

However, the second officer will be undergoing surgery for his non-life-threatening wounds.

The Sacramento Bee reports that of the suspects in the vehicle theft operation, three have been detained relating to the shooting. One 31-year-old male suspect was injured in the shooting and is in hospital in a critical condition.

Investigation into vehicle theft

According to a news release by Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull, the Sheriff’s office’s Auto Theft Task Force was looking into a vehicle theft operation at around 8 a.m.

on Wednesday. They watched as two women climbed into a stolen vehicle. Officers then followed the stolen vehicle to Elk Grove, where officers took two women into custody.

In the meantime, other officers headed to the Ramada Inn on Auburn Boulevard with a search warrant related to vehicle theft. It was when the officers knocked on the door of a room that a suspect inside started shooting, injuring the two CHP officers through that door.

Other officers, including French, were positioned at the back of the motel, behind the room in question, when the suspect fired a high-powered rifle from the balcony of the room, fatally injuring French, who then passed away while being transported to the local hospital.

The suspect then jumped off the balcony to escape from the hotel room and ran to a Dodge Challenger parked close by.

A car chase ensued, where the suspect eventually crashed the vehicle close to Watt Avenue. At that stage, the suspect again opened fire on the officers but was shot by a deputy. He was then detained and transported to the hospital where he is currently in a critical condition.

According to a report by KCRA, officers then searched the motel for several hours, as deputies, responding to tips, believed there were two other suspects still inside. By 6 p.m. deputies had found no further suspects, but investigations are expected to continue into Thursday.

French was a highly respected sheriff’s deputy and training officer

Turnbull said French was a training officer and was highly respected in the department.

He is survived by his girlfriend, his sister, three adult children, and grandchildren. A procession of law enforcement officers and officials honored French on Wednesday evening as his body was moved from the hospital.

Turnbull gave no further details on the wounded CHP officers but did say they had a lot of experience in the field. He said it is the most difficult thing any department can go through and it isn’t something you easily come back from. Six other deputies with the Sheriff’s office who were involved at the scene have been placed on administrative leave.