Friends Say Man Shot And Killed By Deputies Was A Veteran

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.

  • The Blogger

    I am speechless by this story…..

  • Sacramento man shot dead after pulling two guns on deputies | ranSACkedmedia

    […] A friend of French’s stated that he said “I can see it in my mind, let’s make this happen, let’s make this happen.” just before he was shot. […]

  • eric

    sad on both sides- may you find the peace you were looking for Marine!

  • Tapestry

    You can’t fire on a sheriff or policeman and expect them to sttop and ask you if you suffer from depression! This is a life or death situation, the officers didn’t want to be killed, there has been way too many killed this year allready!

  • JJ

    This is so sad, especially since I was watching the fireworks and heard all the police sirens in the neighborhood but yet had no idea that just down the street out of view this tragedy was happening. It is all too often that people start a ruckuss with the police when they know it will get them killed for it. As it says he had depression and “other” mental illnesses,and I don’t think I am going out on a limb assuming one of these was PTSD. Poor man, he wasn’t well or in his right state of mind. So sad for everyone involved. I am sure the police officer wishes he hadn’t pulled the trigger either.

  • vlsaint

    Everyone who wants to post their comments about Bill French did not know the man. He was not a” crazed” felon as everyone is claiming. He was not a NRA fanatic, etc. This is a man who used to be a fireman who went downhill after he had a series of calls where he had people die is his arms, inparticullary a 16-year old girl killed by a drunk driver and a two year old that drowned in a hot tub. He was a valued paramedic and engineer until that time in the late 80’s. He put his heart and soul into serving the public unselflishly. He did not have the answers why these bad things happened to these innocent people. Bill was a father, son, brother and grandfather. Bringing up his past DUI record without knowing all the facts is judgmental and highly prejudicial. Everyone goes through periods in their lives where things happen that cannot be explained and there be answers for. The facts need to be known before continued speculation, stereotyping and conjecture in these comments are repeatedly written. This is highly offensive and such judgments should not be made unless you have walked in another’s shoes.

    I did not write this but I read this from another person’s posting.

    I talked to Bill over a year ago and all he talked about was his father was ill and he could not take seeing his father being such a strong man be taken down by his illness. No one should judge another without knowing why a person does what he does. Past or no past he was a good man.

  • Fred

    Suicide by cop. A tragedy. For the deceased, and for the officers involved in the shooting

  • camore

    So sad to hear this about this Marine. Life is so difficult and then to always have bad things happen to you makes it so much worse. Who knows what was going on in this mans head. Perhaps it just was just too difficult to go through another day. I hope he is at peace now. SEMPER FI, MARINE.

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  • AG

    This is sad in all respects. I met Bill on several occasions and he was an exceptional man & true gentlemen. Polite, curtious and humorous. His demons clearly got the best of him. JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED. RIP brother!

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