SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) – A man who was shot and killed by Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies after he opened fire with an assault rifle was a veteran who suffered from depression, according to neighbors who witnessed the shooting.
On a day when many are celebrating the men and women who serve our country people in the Arcade-Arcade neighborhood are mourning the death of long-time neighbor Bill French.
French was shot and killed Sunday night in the middle of the street after he apparently fired at a sheriff’s deputy.
“I’m in shock right now,” said Robin Samas, a friend of French’s. “The bullets were flying over my head and I guess the lady got a couple in her windshield. I’m lucky I guess.”
A house on Lockwood way was hit by three bullets while the residents were inside as the shootout between deputies and Bill French.
Sacramento Sheriff’s deputies say French fired on an officer with a rifle, hitting a squad car before getting a handgun from his home and continued to approach officers.
“I just yelled at him ‘Bill don’t’ and he just threw up his hands and said ‘I can see it in my mind”. He said ‘Let’s make this happen, lets make this happen’,” said Samas.
“He ignored several commands to stop at which time our officers fired their weapons striking him seven times,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Ramos.
Robin Samas watched as his friend, whom he called Teddy Bear, fell in a barrage of bullets.
“I just broke down and started crying and I just said, ‘Bill why, why?’” said Samas. “It’s just so sad.
Neighbors say the 49-year-old was a veteran of the Marines who suffered from depression and other mental illness. They can’t help but wonder if French wanted to die.
“You would think if he went up with his hands in the air and said ‘Let’s make this happen’, he knew what was going to happen,” said Samas.