Sacramento, California

From the Sacramento Bee of April 14, 2007
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Police probe mistaken arrest of resident in shooting

Man was returning fire when he shot at group, hitting one, official says.

A 46-year-old man was wrongfully arrested Sunday after he shot an alleged gang member in self-defense, police said Friday.

Now the Sacramento Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into how the mistake was made, authorities said.

Patrick Malcolm fired his gun at a group of men who had shot at him first near his Meadowview home, said Sacramento Police Sgt. Matt Young. One of the men was hit, Young said.

Officers responding to a call of shots fired near Twilight Drive and Sweetfern Way about 5 a.m. Sunday were approached by Malcolm, Young said. Malcolm told police he was in his living room when he saw a suspicious car outside.

He grabbed his gun, went outside to investigate and was shot at several times, Young said. He fired back in self-defense, Young said.

Investigators do not know why someone shot at Malcolm.

About 20 minutes after speaking with Malcolm, officers were notified that a man had been taken to an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the upper torso, Young said. They then arrested Malcolm on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

“Follow-up investigation revealed the resident should not have been arrested, and we’re taking steps to rectify this situation,” Young said Friday. “We made a mistake. We arrested the wrong guy.”

Malcolm was released Monday, Young said.

Police are working with the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office to make sure charges are not filed against Malcolm and that his “record is expunged” of his arrest, Young said.

Malcolm did not return calls from The Bee on Friday evening.

Young said the decision to arrest Malcolm was made by the responding officers’ immediate supervisor, who is a sergeant, and the watch commander on duty, a lieutenant. Young said the responding officers at the scene “did everything right” but declined to elaborate.

The department’s internal affairs unit has begun an investigation “to ascertain why the mistake was made,” Young said. He said “necessary information was not communicated” between the two crime scenes — the street where the shooting occurred and the hospital where the wounded man was found.

On Friday, police arrested the man who had been shot, 18-year-old Salvador Thomas Williams, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm and with a criminal street gang enhancement.

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