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Sac. Sheriff: Deputy Killed In Shootout Showed "Courage And Valor"


The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said Deputy Robert French showed "courage and valor" as he was dying from a gunshot wound during a shootout last Thursday.  

Officers from the sheriff's department and the California Highway Patrol say Thomas Daniel Littlecloud Jr. killed French before he himself was shot and killed. Investigators say Littlecloud fired 43 times at officers using a 9 mm handgun and a weapon similar to an AK 47. 

Sgt. Shaun Hampton, a Sacramento Sheriff's Department spokesman, said Deputy French was dying as he helped provide cover for fellow officers in the Ramada Inn parking lot. 

"Upon being struck by the bullet that caused the fatal injury to Deputy French, he continued to engage the suspect multiple times as the suspect was fleeing," Hampton said. 

An arrest of Littlecloud's girlfriend, Priscilla Prendez, earlier in the day for driving a stolen car led the Sacramento County Auto Theft Suppression Task Force officers to the hotel room. 

Hampton said officers were not expecting Littlecloud to be in the hotel room. 

But, investigators said Littlecloud was inside and began shooting through the door and walls when officers identified themselves. 

He fired at officers at seven different locations, including while in traffic as he attempted to get away. 

The chase ended when he crashed the stolen Dodge Challenger he was driving near El Camino High School. He was taken into custody and died at a local hospital over the weekend. 

Hampton said a third firearm and methamphetamine were found in the hotel room. 

Two California Highway Patrol officers were also injured during the shootout. 

French died on the way to the hospital. A memorial service is scheduled for him on Thursday in Roseville. 

The shooting will be reviewed by the sheriff's homicide bureau, the Professional Standards Division, the District Attorney's Office and the Inspector General. 

A Sacramento Sheriff's Department committee will decide whether French will receive any commendations. 

Priscilla Prendez was arrested for vehicle theft and felony evasion. Hampton says the hotel room was registered in her name.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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