The suspect in a Northern California shooting last week was wearing body-armor vest when he took two hostages in a public park, killing one, wounding the other and opening fire at California Highway Patrol officers, authorities said.
The CHP officers approached suspect Eric Abril on April 6 near Mahany Park in Roseville, northeast of Sacramento, authorities said. He was wanted for questioning in connection with a freeway shooting.
But the situation turned violent. The officers confronted Abril — in a park where families played nearby at baseball fields and children attended camp — and he took two hostages in response and opened fire, prompting a gun battle that became deadly, authorities said.
Investigators are “confident” that Abril fatally shot James MacEgan and wounded his wife, Patricia MacEgan, according to Roseville police and court documents filed by the Placer County District Attorney's Office.
The criminal complaint filed against Abril says Officer Matthew Hiatt was also wounded in the shooting, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The officers had search warrants for Abril's home and vehicle, but not an arrest warrant to take him into custody. Why they approached him in such a public area, despite a lengthy criminal record, has not been made public and Officer Ricardo Ortiz, a CHP spokesperson, declined to release additional details about the situation on Saturday.
Prosecutors say Abril had a 10 mm handgun in his possession during the confrontation last week and was wearing the body-armor vest when the officers approached him, according to The Sacramento Bee. The Placer County District Attorney's Office did not respond to The Associated Press' request for comment.
Abril is charged with murder, aggravated kidnapping causing bodily harm, attempted murder of a peace officer and of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, the newspaper reported.
Abril remains in jail without the opportunity to post bail and his arraignment was postponed to Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Abril fired 15 to 20 rounds at the CHP officers and the MacEgans during the shootout, according to Roseville police. CHP officers fired 15 to 25 rounds and Roseville officers shot six bullets in response.
Abril was struck once in his left arm but it was not clear whose bullet hit him, police said.