Grass Valley police arrest suspect in firecracker incident |

Grass Valley police arrest suspect in firecracker incident

Bradley Sampsel

A bicyclist was unable to outpace Grass Valley police officers chasing him on foot, and ended up in jail on charges that included assault with a deadly weapon.

Bradley Michael Sampsel, 57, was arrested Tuesday morning after multiple callers reported he possibly had fired a gun at two men in downtown Grass Valley. Police later determined he’d used a firework.

Officers on routine patrol just after 1 a.m. were flagged down by a “frantic” employee of a convenience store on South Auburn and Bank streets, said Sgt. Clint Bates.

“She reported a man possibly armed with a gun, who had fired a gun,” Bates aid. “Simultaneously, dispatch was receiving calls of shots fired in the area.”

The suspect had fled south on South Auburn Street before officers arrived on scene, Bates said, adding it was unclear whether Sampsel had fired a gun or thrown some sort of explosive device.

During a search, officers saw Sampsel near Neal Street, but he fled on the bicycle despite repeated commands to stop, Bates said. After a short foot chase, he was detained near Henderson Street.

It was determined that Sampsel had gotten into a verbal argument with two men outside the convenience store, brandishing a knife and making threats before leaving. He returned a few minutes later and threw a large, lit firework at the men, Bates said.

“It was a M-100 firework,” Bates said. “Those pack a lot of explosive material — it could do some damage.”

Sampsel missed, however, and there were no injuries or damage to the building.

He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats and resisting arrest. He remained in custody Wednesday night on $27,500 bond, jail records state.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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