Driver Shot After Dragging Deputy 150 Yards Through Thunder Valley Casino Parking Lot

Posted on: January 12, 2021, 04:10h. 

Last updated on: January 12, 2021, 04:54h.

In Lincoln, California, near Sacramento, a Placer County deputy shot a man after being dragged by his vehicle through a casino parking lot, authorities said Tuesday.

Thunder Valley
Thunder Valley Casino Resort was the scene of the crime in the early hours of Tuesday morning. (Thunder Valley Casino Resort)

The deputy had stopped a Toyota SUV in the early hours of Tuesday morning outside the Thunder Valley Casino for an unspecified reason. But as he leaned into the driver’s side door to “further control the situation,” the driver accelerated, pulling the deputy with him.

After being dragged for 150 yards, and fearing for his life, the deputy fired two rounds, hitting the suspect.

Once the deputy had freed himself, the wounded suspect at first attempted to flee the scene in his vehicle, driving two miles west of the casino before stopping and surrendering to police.

“He was taken into custody by Placer County deputies, who immediately rendered medical aid to the suspect before placing him in the ambulance to be taken to a nearby hospital,” spokesperson for the sheriff’s office Angela Musallam said in an official statement.

Suspect Expected to Live

The suspect is a Sacramento man in his 20s whose name and charges have not been made public. He is expected to survive, Musallam said.

A woman in her 20s was also in the vehicle and is, so far, refusing to talk to the Sheriff’s department.

The deputy suffered minor injuries and has been released from hospital. He has been placed on administrative leave.

A local business owner who wished to remain nameless told Good Day Sacramento that she was concerned about crime in the area around the casino, which is owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian Community.

“I’ve been a longtime Lincoln resident. And since this casino has come in over the years, progressively it’s gotten worse,” she said. “We have heard complaints, reports from other neighboring businesses, that people wander into their properties and there’s just unsafe (conditions) overall.”

Thunder Valley Murder

Locals recently had cause to remember perhaps the most notorious crime that occurred in the vicinity of the casino.

On Christmas Eve, 69-year-old Mario Garcia died from complications related to COVID-19 at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. He had been serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of Christie Wilson, who was last seen alive in his company in the Thunder Valley parking lot after the pair had gambled at the casino.

Garcia was convicted despite his refusal to disclose the whereabouts of Wilson’s body. Only in August last year did he finally lead detectives to the location, at last offering a measure of closure for the victim’s family.