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Sacramento Police Department Helicopter Plays Critical Role in Officer Shooting Incident

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/3307101892/ Late on the afternoon of Sunday May 25th Sacramento Police Officer Tyson Butler (35) conducted a traffic stop on a white Ford Mustang in the 3700 Block of Business Drive in the City of Sacramento.  As Officer Butler walked toward the suspect vehicle the dash cam on his police car captured what happened next.  The driver of the mustang, later identified as Jose Munoz (19), leaned out the window of his vehicle and began firing his gun at the approaching officer.  Munoz then immediately fled the scene in the white mustang.

Officer Butler, hit in the right arm and the hip, transmitted an urgent call for help on his police radio.  The Sacramento PD helicopter and crew who was on routine patrol in the area heard the call and responded, along with numerous ground units.  It was the crew of the police helicopter who first caught site of the fleeing mustang and directed ground units to intercept it.  A vehicle pursuit ensued until the mustang failed to negotiate a curve in the vicinity of Kiefer Blvd and Happy Ln resulting in a crash. 

The pursuing officers understandably did not approach the vehicle, waiting for the SWAT team to respond instead.  Upon approaching the vehicle SWAT team members discovered the driver dead, from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 

This incident is an excellent example of both the value and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement assets during critical incidents.  A violent and armed assault suspect fleeing the scene of a police shooting poses incredible and immediate danger to both the public and other law enforcement officers.  Whether it was by happenstance or vigilance by the helicopter crew, they were in the right place at the right time to bring this incident to a quick close.  This takes nothing away from the ground officers who put there lives on the line during this incident, as well as each time they drive out of the station parking lot. 

The citizens of Sacramento should thank the leaders of their police department and the City of Sacramento for continued support of their aviation unit, particularly in these tough economic times. 

Excellent job by the air crew!

Police Helicopter Pilot.com wishes a speedy recovery to Officer Butler.