SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The Sacramento police’s mounted patrol played a critical role stopping the New Year’s Eve gunman in Old Sacramento.

As soon as shots were fired, waves of officers stormed in on the Sports Corner Café.

“I seen the officer jump off his horse and the horse kept going. The officer did not have no fear, he just took the guy down,” witness Dale Thomas said.

Thomas says he had a clear view from across the street and saw that mounted officer push the gunman’s weapon aside, essentially ending the melee.

“The gun went about four feet and basically the guy was more subdued then,” said Thomas.

Although three people were hurt and two died, officers were able to arrest the suspected shooter before there were any more victims on one of Old Sacramento’s busiest nights.

“We did get through the crowd, actually first ones on scene. Because (horses) can move so quickly, people see us coming. They were invaluable,” said Kate McLoughlin, Sacramento Police Department Mounted Unit.

A horse has a much easier time getting through crowds. Since officers are sitting up higher, they have a better viewpoint of what’s going on at the scene.

“The crowd respects the horse. They see the horse coming, they’ll move out and let us get where we need to get,” said Sgt. Matt Wimple, Sacramento Police Department Mounted Unit.

Trained to stay calm amid crowds and chaos, the horses are allowing officers to do their job with the assistance of their four legged partners.

“It could’ve been way worse. It’s bad enough, but it could’ve been way worse with all the families around,” said Thomas.


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