A federal judge released Thomas Daniel Littlecloud even after warnings from the prosecutors indicated Littlecloud had spoken about harming police officers and had previously rammed police vehicles during attempts to flee from the law. After his release, authorities state Littlecloud killed Deputy Robert French of the county sheriff’s office and shot two members of the highway patrol.
As reported by KCRA 3, Littlecloud was being held on charges of counterfeiting, identity theft, drug trafficking, and possession of weapons, and faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years based on his prior record and the nature of the crimes.
On August 24, during a hearing, Littlecloud informed Judge Sallie Kim that he was hoping to turn his life around. He said, “I didn’t know that, like, my life mattered, you know. So, I make decisions for myself. It was only until I was sitting in jail, like, coming down, I realized all the people I hurt.”
Littlecloud reportedly had an issue with methamphetamines, and his attorneys told the judge he needed drug treatment.
However, federal prosecutor Brian Faerstein cited multiple cases that, he asserted, meant Littlecloud should not be released from custody.
“The defendant has three prior firearms convictions and yet, here again, he was carrying a gun and had another in his car in the same bag as where, you know, over 75 grams of pure meth was found. This is conduct that is continuing, and it’s, it’s, he’s not learning from his past mistakes,” said Faerstein.
Though prosecutors told Judge Kim of Littlecloud’s previous use of guns against victims, his threats against police, and his three previous firearms convictions, Judge Kim released him so he could check himself into the New Bridge Foundation drug and alcohol treatment facility located in Berkley.
Littlecloud never completed treatment.
After being released, an incident occurred when authorities attempted to serve a search warrant at a Sacramento, California Ramada Inn last month. When confronted by members of the Auto Theft Task Force were conducting an investigation, they detained two women found to be in a stolen vehicle.
One of the women, Priscilla Prendez, was on a searchable probation and registered as a guest of the Ramada Inn. When authorities approached the room, Littlecloud, who was in the room, fired multiple shots, injuring two California Highway Patrol officers and killing French.
Officers returned fire, but Littlecloud managed to flee the scene. After a car chase, Littlecloud was shot by officers during an exchange. Littlecloud later died of his wounds.