California deputy dead, officer critical after shooting

Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 5:01pm

SANGER, Calif. – A California homicide detective died Thursday and a police officer was in critical condition after they were shot during an investigation in a rural area of Central California, authorities said.

The suspected shooter then barricaded himself inside a house and kept firing on law enforcement officials in an ongoing standoff, authorities said.

A neighbor reported hearing hundreds of shots.

It was unclear if any other people were inside the home.

Another wounded Fresno County deputy was in stable condition. The names of the three officers were not immediately released. The police officer was from Reedley.

Mary Novack, who runs a convenience store across from the home under siege, said she saw the deputies and a fire official smash down the door of the home in Minkler in eastern Fresno County after repeatedly demanding someone inside surrender. Then she heard gunfire.

"Oh my god, somebody's going to be dead," Novack recalled thinking at the time.

Jim Stone, 46, who lives about 100 feet from the surrounded home, said he was evacuated after the shooting erupted. Stone said he heard what sounded like hundreds of shots.

Sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice had no further details about the standoff that came during an unspecified investigation that included state fire officials.

All three were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where numerous deputies and police officers had gathered.

Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said state fire officials were at the scene but would not say why and referred questions to the Sheriff's Department.

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