Monday Apr 21 2008
Hotel holdout was wanted for Sac murder
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein
A Roseville hotel was the hideout Sunday for a man suspected in a Sacramento murder committed earlier that day. But just hours after the alleged slaying, the suspect, David Kenneth Hamilton, was dead. Hamilton, 39, was shot by a Sacramento County Sheriff's detective Sunday night after attempting to flee arrest, according to authorities. Hamilton, a photograph of whom was obtained Wednesday by Gold Country Media, was killed by a single gunshot at 11:45 p.m. to the upper body by the detective, who feared for his safety after Hamilton reached into his waistband while attempting to flee the Heritage Inn on Harding Boulevard, officials said, though investigators would later determine he was unarmed. It was a violent end to a day that had started in much the same manner. And it was the second time in recent years a local branch of the hotel chain served as the last stand for a major criminal suspect, recalling the arrest of convicted killer Brendt Anthony Volarvich at the Rocklin Heritage Inn in 2005. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran said the department’s major crimes bureau investigators had linked Hamilton to the earlier murder on the 5400 block Rambler Way in the Foothill Farms neighborhood of Sacramento, and had tracked him to the Heritage Inn on the 200 block of Harding Boulevard. Killed in the Sacramento slaying was Wilbur Reynolds, the home's 76-year-old resident. After Reynolds was murdered, police believe Hamilton and another man – 41-year-old Daniel Norman of Citrus Heights – set fire to the residence at about 1:30 p.m. to destroy the evidence. The motive was burglary, officials said. But the suspects didn’t count on witnesses providing key information, including the license plate of a dark-colored Jeep Cherokee. That, officials said, led them to Norman, who they then arrested on suspicion of involvement in the slaying. Investigators were then able to piece together information that led them to where Hamilton was staying, Curran said. "Witnesses came forward at the time of the homicide and were able to give good descriptions of the suspects and of a license plate, and investigators quickly identified the suspects," Curran said. When investigators arrived at the Roseville hotel shortly before midnight, Hamilton spotted the detectives driving through the parking lot and proceeded to flee on foot, Curran said. “He was outside of his room and saw them rolling through parking lot and just took off on foot through the complex,” Curran said. During the chase, the man turned around and reached into his waistband, Curran said. The detective believed his life was in danger and fired one shot at the man from his department-issued weapon, hitting him in the upper body, he said. The detective requested medical assistance but paramedics pronounced the man dead outside the nearby Waffle Square restaurant. Curran said the suspect had an “extensive criminal history” and had a warrant for his arrest due to a domestic violence-related parole violation. He added it’s not abnormal for Sacramento County Sheriff’s detectives to cross jurisdictional lines while investigating such crimes. Hamilton’s city of residence was not immediately clear, authorities said, though he is believed to have been staying in Citrus Heights with Norman. Hamilton was not in possession of a weapon, according to Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther, but the investigator considered him extremely dangerous because of his alleged involvement in the murder and subsequent blaze, Curran said. "They knew who he was, they knew why they were there, and they knew what he had done," Curran said. Gunther added Hamilton had a flashlight and other items on his belt and in his pockets. The Roseville Police Department is now conducting an outside investigation into the shooting, Gunther said. “Any time someone gets shot there’s an investigation into the circumstances to see if there’s criminal culpability,” she said. “We'll conduct the outside investigation and it will go to the (Placer County) DA’s office to decide whether the shooting was justified.” The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide unit and the internal affairs department are also investigating the incident, Curran said. The shooting is the second time a major criminal suspect has hid out at a Heritage Inn hotel in south Placer. In November 2005, Brendt Anthony Volarvich of Roseville checked into the Heritage Inn in Rocklin after shooting Roseville CHP officer Andy Stevens. He was arrested there without incident. The manager of the Roseville Heritage Inn did not return calls placed this week. The officer’s identity in Sunday’s incident has not been released. He is described as a 41-year-old detective who had been with the department nine years. Curran said the detective would be placed on a 5-day paid administrative leave, during which he would a fitness for duty exam before returning to the job. On Tuesday, the manager of the Waffle Square restaurant said customers and employees were “back to normal” and weren’t all that rattled. “We close at 3 o’clock anyway so we’re not too scared,” said the manager, who would only give her first name, Savita. “It had to happen somewhere, it just happened to be in front of our restaurant.” Gold Country Media's Penne Usher contributed to this report story updated 6:30 p.m. Monday, 1 p.m. Tuesday and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Reach Nathan Donato-Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 774-7969.