Friday Jan 02 2009
Robbery suspect shot by Rocklin Police and CHP in Lincoln
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
A 55-year-old man, suspected of armed robbery, was shot and killed early New Year’s Day in Lincoln by Rocklin police and CHP officers after he threatened them with a gun, according to a Lincoln Police press release. The suspect, Gregory Gifford, was a Fair Oaks resident who allegedly robbed an AM/PM gas station in Rocklin. He led police and CHP on a short pursuit after his car was spotted at the corner of Twelve Bridges and Colonnade in Lincoln at 1:15 a.m. Jan. 1, according to the press release. The pursuit ended near the corner of Sun Valley Loop and Fairway Valley Lane in Lincoln when Gifford allegedly got out of his vehicle, holding a gun. Police then shot him in self-defense and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the press release. The gun Gifford allegedly leveled at police officers turned out to be a pellet rifle, according to Jill Thompson, public information officer for the city of Lincoln. Gifford also had a pellet pistol in his jacket pocket, which he allegedly used in the AM/PM robbery, Thompson said. Thompson could not confirm Friday who fired first, Rocklin officers, CHP officers or Gifford. She also could not confirm if Gifford fired at all, pending the results of the investigation. “There are too many unknowns at this point in the investigation,” Thompson said. Gifford was a retired firefighter, who spent much of his career working for the Sacramento County Fire District. “I remember him as being a good firefighter and a good guy,” said Capt. Christian Pebbles of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, who worked with Gifford. “That was a long time ago. That was 15 years ago but he was a good guy.” On Thursday, pockmarks in the wall separating the dead-end street from the parking lot of the Orchard Creek Lodge in Sun City Lincoln Hills mark the spots where numerous bullets hit on the foggy New Year’s Day. “It was sad,” said nearby resident Lynne Kelly on Friday. “It’s sad that it had to happen. I was curious of how he got in here. It’s such a maze and it seemed like a far-fetched route from the gas station in Rocklin to here. I still feel safe here, it was just a freak incident.” Thursday’s incident brought police vehicles from CHP, Rocklin and Lincoln to the area through daybreak as officers worked on the investigation. “I was kept up all night,” said Phil Cummings, who lives near the scene. “Everybody heard the gunfire, but it was New Year’s Eve so I thought it was just firecrackers. Then an officer came to the door to see if anyone was hurt.” The incident is under investigation by the Lincoln Police Department and the Placer County District Attorney’s office. Rocklin Police and CHP are holding their own administrative investigations. CHP spokesman Steve Merchant wouldn't comment on the story, directing all inquiries in the case to the Lincoln Police Department.