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Man convicted of shooting at Citrus Heights police in high-speed chase

Justin Hurst
Justin Hurst was convicted by a jury on May 17, 2018.

Updated May 18, 6:15 p.m.–
Sentinel staff report–
Prosecutors this week announced the conviction of a 36-year-old man who was found guilty of nearly a dozen felony charges stemming from a 2016 high-speed chase in Citrus Heights.

According to a news release on Friday from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Justin Hurst was convicted by a jury on May 17 for attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a peace officer, as well as reckless evasion of a peace officer, possession of an assault weapon, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Hurst, then 33, had a felony warrant at the time and was also on Post-Release Community Supervision for prior crimes, which included first-degree burglary and several prior convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

As previously reported on The Sentinel, Hurst was arrested on Sept. 1, 2016, after police received a call regarding a suspicious person looking into parked cars at Northwoods Park, near Old Ranch Road and Oak Avenue. Police at the time said that an officer found him sleeping in a vehicle on the 8200 block of Old Ranch Road, where he provided identification and admitted to being on parole or probation.

While talking to the officer, police said he “began acting suspiciously and appeared very nervous.” After being asked if he had anything illegal inside the vehicle, Hurst then became uncooperative and the officer attempted to detain him using “an open hand control hold,” according to a police news release issued after the arrest.

Hurst then “pulled away from the officer [and] fled the area in the vehicle at a high rate of speed,” but crashed nearby after losing control and nearly hitting a house. During the brief pursuit, police said he fired several rounds through the rear window of his vehicle, but no officers were hit or injured.

Despite suffering a head injury in the collision, police said Hurst tried to flee the vehicle as officers approached. He was apprehended and taken to a local hospital for treatment before being booked into the Sacramento County Jail three days later.

A search of his car revealed 13 cartridge casings, four firearms and boxes of ammunition, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence responded to the news of Hurst’s conviction, telling The Sentinel on Friday that the case “underscore(s) the dangers of police work.”

“It’s alarming to me that suspects would shoot at police and we’re fortunate that no one got injured or killed,” said Lawrence in a phone interview. “I hope that he does serve time, because this is such a heinous crime and people could have been killed in this case.”

Hurst faces a maximum sentence of 42 years to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White on June 29.

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