10/23/2011

Suspect in Calif. officer shooting dies

Tyrone Smith, 32, was unresponsive in the back of a patrol car

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A suspect in a shooting that left a northern California officer critically wounded later died in the custody of Sacramento police, following a foot chase, authorities say.

Tyrone Smith, 32, was unresponsive in the back of a patrol car after being caught late Saturday night some seven hours after the shooting of the Twin Rivers police officer, Sacramento police said in a statement Sunday night.

Paramedics were called who took Smith to a hospital, where he was declared dead, the statement said.

Police said the cause of death had not been determined, but a preliminary investigation showed no indication it was a result of police actions. Police did not say if there were plans for an autopsy.

Smith ran from officers and jumped over fences after he was found, then refused to comply when they caught up with him and had to be forced to the ground and handcuffed, the statement said.

He again tried to flee and fell to the ground before he was put in the patrol car, police said.

Despite the struggle from the suspect, officers "acted appropriately and used minimal force," Acting Deputy Police Chief Dana Matthes told the Sacramento Bee.

Police waited more than 18 hours to confirm the death. Matthes said it was because they hadn't contacted the suspect's family.

The Twin Rivers officer, whose name has not been released, was in critical condition after being hit with several bullets, but is expected to have a full recovery after surgery Sunday.

"Doctors are very optimistic," Twin Rivers police spokesman William Cho told the Bee.

The shooting occurred when the officer tried to pull over the suspect's vehicle Saturday afternoon, the Sacramento police statement said.

The suspect refused to stop, then after a short car chase got out of his vehicle and fled on foot. As the officer chased him, the suspect fired and hit the officer several times, the statement said.

Detectives believe the suspect got back in his vehicle and fled.

Paramedics who happened to be in the area quickly reached the officer and took him to the hospital, the statement said.

Police did not say why the officer tried to pull over the suspect when the incident began.

Several units of the Sacramento Police Department along with the city's Office of Public Safety and Accountability and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office are investigating the two shootings.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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