Sacramento Regional Transit says a deputy who was shot in the face Tuesday night was working overtime as part of a recent effort to increase safety and decrease the number of fare-jumpers at light rail stations.
SacRT Police Chief Lisa Hinz says Sacramento Sheriff's Deputy Alex Ladwig and a transit agent were working at the Watt and I-80 light rail station Tuesday night when Ladwig approached Nicory Marquis Spann to see if he had purchased a ticket.
"We had been working and are working on a plan to make improvements both with facilities and to have a much stronger saturation of police out there," Hinz says, "to essentially take back the station and make it much safer for the ridership, and so that's why Alex was out there."
The Sacramento Sheriff's Department says Ladwig radioed dispatch that Spann had attacked him and then radioed to report he had been shot.
Hinz says Ladwig's request to see a fare is routine.
"We have about 24 police officers and then we have 50-plus transit agents," Hinz says, "so I think it's hundreds of times a day between all of us that we're contacting people asking for fare, proof of fare and contacting folks at stations to make sure they're there for the right reason, which is to ride our trains."
SacRT says the number of fare-jumpers has been cut in half since the agency stepped up enforcement.
The agency says it has also been working with business owners and community groups in the area to make the station safer.
SacRT recently began an adopt-a-station program in which each member of the district’s new executive team has committed to monitoring three stations for safety and cleanliness.
Spann was charged with a double murder in Mountain View in 2008, but pleaded to lesser charges of receiving stolen property and accessory after the fact.
He has been charged with about a dozen crimes in Sacramento County in the last five years and has pleaded no contest to four of them. He has been charged with the attempted murder of Deputy Ladwig and is scheduled to be in court Friday.
He was already scheduled to be in court that day. Earlier this month, a Galt man filed a restraining order against him and the hearing date was set for Friday morning.
Ladwig was in "stable condition with major facial injuries" according to the most recent update from the Sacramento Sheriff's Department.