A California sheriff's deputy was killed in a motel shootout with a suspect on Wednesday that also left two California Highway Patrol officers wounded, police said.
Robert French, a 21-year veteran with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and the two CHP officers were conducting an auto-theft investigation at the motel when a man, armed with a high-powered rifle, opened fire, police said.
French, 52, was struck and died of his injuries en route to the hospital, according to police.
The CHP officers, whose names were withheld, were hospitalized and listed in stable condition.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones described French as a "well-known, well-respected training officer" who was survived by his girlfriend, children, grandchildren and sister.
"The entire community and all agencies lost a brother officer and that’s just something you don’t come back from," Jones told reporters on Wednesday.
He was a "go-to guy for advice and counsel, not just career advice but tactical advice and things like that," Jones added.
The officers, who were on an auto-theft task force, were conducting a probation search in connection with a stolen vehicle at the motel when a man began firing through a motel room door, striking the two CHP officers, authorities said.
The suspected gunman then turned to a balcony, shooting French, who was outside monitoring the back door, and fled the scene.
The gunman led officers on a brief chase, but was captured minutes later when he crashed and was wounded by responding officers, police said. The suspect is at a local hospital in critical condition, according to police.
"We’ll survive as a community. We’ve been through it before," Jones said. "It’s painful and it will take a period of grieving, but we’ll get through it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.