SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A man armed with an assault rifle shot three sheriff’s deputies and a civilian, killing two of the deputies and leading dozens of police officers on a wild six-hour chase and manhunt Friday that spanned two Northern California counties before the 34-year-old suspect was taken into custody.
Marcelo Marquez, of Salt Lake City, was taken alive Friday afternoon from a home in Auburn in Placer County after the initial shooting hours earlier in a strip mall in a commercial area of Sacramento, said Placer County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin.
“This guy was on a one-man crime spree today. He has no idea of the damage he did,” she said.
The four shootings sparked a massive manhunt by multiple agencies backed by search dogs, helicopters and armored vehicles. Residents nearby were told to stay indoors, and schools were locked down during the search. The owner of the home said officers used tear gas to drive the suspect from the basement.
“I think there’s those people who would say, `You know what, I wish you’d killed him,”‘ Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said at an evening news conference. “Now, that’s not who we are. We are not him. We did our job.”
He identified his slain officer as sheriff’s homicide Det. Michael David Davis Jr. The 42-year-old detective died 26 years to the day after his father, for whom he is named, died in the line of duty as a Riverside County deputy sheriff in Southern California.
Flags at the state Capitol were ordered flown at half-staff and Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement extending his sympathy to the families of the slain officers.
Their “brutal murders,” Brown said, “…are a tragic reminder of the sacrifices we demand of our peace officers and the incredible courage they display as they protect our communities.”
The slaying of the deputies was the single deadliest day for California law enforcement since February 2013. In separate incidents that month, former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner killed two law enforcement officers, and two Santa Cruz police detectives were shot and killed.
A woman who was with the suspect earlier was also taken into custody in Placer County, and authorities said she had a handgun in her purse.
Marquez had a driver’s license that identified him as a Salt Lake City resident. He was taken to a hospital before he could be booked into jail, Erwin said.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said the deadly chain of events began when Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, approached a suspicious occupied vehicle in a motel parking lot around 10:30 a.m. and was shot in the forehead at close range. Oliver, the first county deputy killed since 2008, was a 15-year veteran who leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
“He was not able to return fire or do anything,” Jones said. He said Oliver’s partner was able to shoot back as the vehicle fled the scene.
Bonner later called the deadly sequence a “time of just sadness and madness” as he described Davis as a 15-year veteran of the department and 18-year law enforcement officer. Davis, who would have been 43 on Wednesday, leaves behind a wife and four children.
Bonner said the wounded deputy, Jeff Davis, is a 17-year veteran who was shot in the arm. He was released after treatment at a hospital.
Bonner described the scene of the shootings as “incredibly chaotic” and said it will take weeks to piece together the sequence of events that led to the shootings and suspect’s arrest.
His deputies were shot after the driver of the vehicle and a female passenger fled the scene of the initial shooting in Sacramento. About a mile away, the suspect attempted to steal a car in a residential area, but shot the driver in the head when he refused to give up his keys, Jones said. He did not know the condition of that victim but said he was alive and conscious when he was transported.
The assailants then stole a red Ford pickup from Jose Cruz, who was gardening outside a client’s house in Sacramento.
Cruz told The Sacramento Bee that a man in a white Ford Mustang convertible told him he needed a favor: “I need your keys,” the man said. “Hurry up, because they’re chasing me.”
Cruz said the man pointed a gun at him and had a bloody shirt wrapped around his other arm.
The suspects then fled to neighboring Placer County, about 30 miles north of Sacramento.
Erwin said a resident reported seeing a vehicle that matched the description of the stolen red truck. Deputies swarmed the area, and the suspect shot two deputies with an AR-15-type assault weapon before fleeing into a wooded canyon area, Erwin said.
Laura Larson, who lives at the Auburn home where the suspect was apprehended, told KCRA-TV that her uncle was at home when Marquez broke in but her uncle survived. She said her family has “no idea who this guy is.”
She said police used tear gas and some windows were broken at the home. The residence was still considered a crime scene Friday evening and the family was not being allowed to return, she said.
House painter Sean Smith of Sacramento said he was working on the Auburn mayor’s home when he heard a series of gunshots.
“Once I heard the rapid fire, I knew it was a shootout,” he said. “Within 10 minutes there were sirens all over the place and six helicopters screaming overhead.”
Associated Press writers Judy Lin, Juliet Williams and Alina Hartounian and AP photographer Rich Pedroncelli contributed to this story.
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