By Lt. Elton Soriano, AA/PIO, Folsom State Prison

An early morning coffee stop for two Folsom State Prison custody staff members turned into a foot-pursuit of suspected robbers.

Sgt. Chad Ericson and Officer Daren Procida rolled up on the scene of a robbery and took chase after the suspects.

On Feb. 14, at 5:30 a.m., Sgt. Chad Ericson pulled up to Circle K to purchase coffee prior to beginning his shift at Folsom State Prison (FSP).

Sgt. Ericson noticed a suspicious individual, whose face was covered by a black ski mask, pacing back and forth in front of the store and talking on a cell phone. FSP Correctional Officer Daren Procida pulled up to the store in his truck and parked next to Ericson’s vehicle.  As Sgt. Ericson and Officer Procida exited their vehicles, two other individuals, also wearing black ski masks, ran out of the store carrying two black bags.

Sgt. Ericson ran into the store and checked on the cashier.  She nodded when asked if she had been robbed.

All three suspects were running west on Natoma Street through an adjacent parking lot.  Sgt. Ericson immediately yelled to Officer Procida to call 911.

Sgt. Ericson took chase after the suspects on foot, as Officer Procida jumped in his truck and followed behind.

Officer Procida picked up Sgt. Ericson in the truck as they began to follow the suspects into a nearby apartment complex.  As they drove through the rear of the complex, they saw two of the suspects. Officer Procida parked the truck and began to pursue one of the suspects on foot, heading north east. Sgt. Ericson pursued the other suspect on foot. Officer Procida lost his suspect and headed back to the truck.

Sgt. Ericson continued his chase and gained ground on him. The suspect then took cover in a shadowy corner at the end of the complex. As Sgt. Ericson approached, the suspect walked toward him. Sgt. Ericson said that he was an off duty peace officer and asked the suspect to show his hands. At that time, the suspect reached into his waistband, pulled out a handgun and said, “I have a piece.”

The suspect held the firearm at waist level, pointed at the ground. Sgt. Ericson told the suspect to put the weapon down.  The suspect did not comply and took two steps back and retreated into the dark portion of the apartment complex.

Sgt. Ericson backed out of the area and rejoined CO Procida at the front of the apartment complex. The Folsom Police Department arrived on scene and Sgt. Ericson informed them of the situation and gave the police clothing the suspects had discarded during the pursuit.

Because of the actions of the two prison employees, within minutes of the crime, the police apprehended the three original suspects as well as an additional suspect in a waiting vehicle.