Fairfield PD identifies officers involved in fatal I-80 shootout

- Police from Fairfield and Richmond have identified 14 officers involved in a fatal shootout with a homicide suspect who stopped traffic on Interstate Highway 80 in Emeryville in both directions for hours last week.

Fairfield officers attempted to stop 45-year-old Demilo Hodge around 8:40 a.m. on Sept. 27 on suspicion of killing 68-year-old William Freeman in 2015.

Hodge failed to yield, leading police on a pursuit into the East Bay. Richmond police joined in when he passed through their jurisdiction, and the California Highway Patrol successfully deployed a spike strip in Berkeley.

Hodge's vehicle struck a concrete barrier and came to rest in Emeryville, just past the Powell Street exit, where a standoff ensued for more than 20 minutes.

A trained crisis negotiator conducted a lengthy dialogue with Hodge, according to Richmond police, and Fairfield police deployed "less-lethal" impact projectiles and chemical agents - but Hodge suddenly got out of his vehicle, shot at the officers and was struck in an exchange of gunfire.

He was transported to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The Fairfield police officers who fired their department-issued guns included Sgt. Brent Pucci, with 20 years of law enforcement experience; Sgt. Kelly Rombach, with 16 years of experience; Officer John Divine, with 13 years of experience; Officer Erik Aagaard, with 12 years of experience;

Officer Shane Raftery, with 4 years of experience; and Officer James Sehr, with 3 years of experience.

Officer Michael Ambrose, with 7 years of experience, was the officer who deployed the less-lethal weapons, according to department spokesman Sgt. Matt Bloesch.

The Richmond police officers who fired their weapons included Sgt. D Decious, with 16 years of experience; Sgt. C. Llamas, with 15 years’ experience; Detective A. Diaz, with 9 years of experience; Detective M. Ricchutto, with 6 years of experience; Officer B. Mendler, with 9 years of experience; Officer O. Guzman, with 5 years of experience; and Officer C. Tagorda, with 10 years of experience.

The Emeryville Police Department and the California Highway Patrol have both said that none of their personnel were involved in the shootout.

Hodge grew up in the Bay Area and lived in Napa, although he was officially listed as a San Leandro resident. He owned and managed a limo company offering wine tours in the Napa Valley called Executive Excursion Limousine Service.

The shootout remains under investigation, and Emeryville police have taken the lead. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is also conducting its own investigation. Both agencies have said it could be weeks or months before their final reports are available to the public.

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