Douglas County sergeant recalls harrowing gunfight on Kingsbury Grade; shooter gets 40-year prison sentence
Special to The Union
STATELINE, Nev. — It’s nothing short of a miracle that Sgt. Ron Miller survived to provide a victim impact statement at the sentencing of a man who opened fire on him during a high speed chase on Kingsbury Grade in April.
Stefon Demar Jefferson, 43, was sentenced to the maximum of 16-40 years in prison on Thursday during an emotional hearing before District Judge Tod Young.
“The fact that you did not kill Sgt. Miller is not your fault,” Young said. “He is alive today by some other grace.”
Prosecutor Ric Casper said that when Jefferson opened fire on Miller during the April 26 chase the drivers of the two vehicles were mere feet from one another.
In an effort to stop Jefferson before he reached the base of Kingsbury Grade, Miller conducted a pursuit intervention technique, bumping into the rear of the Toyota Camry Jefferson was driving.
“The two vehicles ended up driver’s side door to driver’s side door facing each other and Jefferson unloaded his gun on Miller,” Casper said.
The black Toyota Jefferson was driving was spotted in South Lake Tahoe and he was pursued through Stateline and over Kingsbury.
Of nine rounds fired at Miller, one hit him in the hand. Douglas County deputy Tyree Holdridge, who was following Miller and saw the gun battle, fired his weapon at the rear of the Toyota in an effort to save his sergeant.
“He put two officers at risk and deserves the maximum,” Casper said.
Holdridge said he thought Miller was dead when he saw the gunfire.
“He’s a really good leader, and a friend, and when I saw the gunfire I felt helpless,” Holdridge said.
Holdridge said he fired his AR-15 at the back of the Camry.
Young said Holdridge acted in a heroic fashion during the shooting.
While Jefferson was able to get the Toyota rolling again, the maneuver managed to disable it somewhat and he crashed near the bottom of Kingsbury.
Holdridge said Jefferson knew he would be shot and surrendered immediately.
Miller said as a Christian he forgave Jefferson for his actions.
“I hope he finds his higher power,” he said.
Miller told the judge that he only sleeps two hours a night, and that his children fear for him when he leaves the house to go to work.
He has a titanium plate in his hand and has to wear a glove to improve the circulation.
Holdridge said he lost 60% of his hearing as a result of firing on Jefferson in the shootout.
Defense attorney Kris Brown said that Jefferson admitted to his part in the shooting, even to his own detriment.
“He is ready to accept the consequences,” she said.
While Jefferson was mild during his statement to the judge, he yelled an expletive at Holdridge when the deputy said he felt Jefferson knew exactly what he was doing.
That prompted Young to threaten to gag him should he interrupt again.
Court documents in support of three murder charges in shootings that occurred in Oakland, San Francisco and the University of California campus indicate Jefferson admitted to killing three men.
According to documents filed with the Alameda County Clerk on May 16, Jefferson told interviewers he killed all three men.
The rampage began at 10:14 a.m. April 26 when Jefferson and his cousin Marcus Jackson became involved in an argument, in which Jefferson threatened to kill him if he called police.
Jefferson took off with Jackson’s 2015 Toyota Camry after shooting him in the driveway of his home.
Three hours later, he killed Laron Davis and at 2:42 p.m. shot and killed Calvin Kelly, according to the probable cause sheet.
He faces a half dozen counts in connections with the shootings in California.
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