The Sacramento law enforcement community bid farewell to own of their own Thursday -- and the community rallied round.
Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French was killed in a shootout with an assailant at a Ramada Inn last week.
Thousands paid their respects to the fallen officer at a memorial service for French at Adventure Christian Church in Roseville on Thursday.
A law enforcement procession left the church after the service for Bayside Church Granite Bay at 8191 Sierra College Boulevard.
French died Aug. 30 while on duty with the Sacramento County Auto Theft Suppression Task Force. He and other officers were investigating a car theft at the Ramada Inn when Thomas Daniel Littlecloud, 32, of Castro Valley began shooting at officers through the door of a room with an assault rifle. The two California Highway Patrol officers who knocked on the door were injured, and Littlecloud escaped by jumping off the room’s back balcony.
Littlecloud exchanged gunfire with sheriff’s deputies at the scene, striking French, who continued to fire at Littlecloud after a bullet pierced his heart, according to Sheriff’s Department reports. Littlecloud escaped, leading officers on a chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle near Watt and El Camino, where he again shot at officers. Littlecloud was wounded in this exchange and died later at a hospital.
Personal information about French is scarce, as his family has chosen to mourn privately, but it is clear his family and fellow officers feel his loss deeply. French was a ‘go-to guy’ for the department, Sheriff Scott Jones said.
French’s place at the sheriff’s department briefing table were memorialized with a black sash across his chair in front of a vase of flowers.
“While this is a difficult time for members of our department, our employees are committed, more than ever, to providing ‘Service with Concern’ to all our residents, who have overwhelmed and humbled us with their kind gestures and messages the past several days,” Jones said in a post on Nextdoor.com
Turnout at the service was high, with many law enforcement officers from various agencies all over the country in attendance.