Woman who slipped out of handcuffs, fired at Fresno County deputies identified

A newly released image shows the moment 30-year-old Mariah Spate had a weapon turned on officers from the back of a patrol car.

Alyssa Flores Image
Saturday, August 13, 2022
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A newly released image shows the moment 30-year-old Mariah Spate had a weapon turned on Fresno County deputies from the back of a patrol car.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New details are being released on Thursday's deputy-involved shooting in northwest Fresno.

A felon, handcuffed and locked in the back of a deputies cruiser, was able to get a gun and open fire.

The felon has been identified as 30-year-old Mariah Spate of Clearlake in northern California.

A newly released image shows the moment that Spate had a handgun turned on Fresno County deputies from the back of a patrol car after she had been placed in handcuffs.

RELATED: Suspect shot by deputies after slipping cuffs, firing at officers in NW Fresno

Officials say on Thursday afternoon, three deputies waited for Spate to leave her apartment complex in her car before making contact with her - because she was believed to be armed and dangerous.

They got her handcuffed and into a patrol car. But while they were checking the car for a weapon, it turned out Spate still had a gun on her.

She managed to slip out of handcuffs and fire at least once at deputies.

Two of them fired back at least twice. A picture shows a bullet hole in the back window of the deputy's car she was being held in.

Spate was taken to the hospital where she's in critical condition.

Fresno police are investigating the shooting since it happened within city limits. They say it's still not clear how she managed to keep a gun on her after being arrested.

Sheriff-Elect John Zanoni admits that when deputies are searching the opposite gender for weapons, the search is more minimal.

Zanoni says there was a female deputy on the way to the scene to conduct a more thorough search.

Attorney Kevin Little says taking extra precautions when searching a person of the opposite gender isn't unwarranted.

"I have actually represented people that have been sexually harassed by officers of the opposite sex and those cases have been heard and resolved in court, so it's a real concern. But we are now seeing the other side of that concern that there is a safety issue when someone is not searched as thoroughly as the situation suggests they should be," says Little.

Spate has been wanted for months for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Plus, Fresno police say she is the prime suspect in a domestic violence shooting that happened on July 15th in northeast Fresno.

Officials believe the firearm used in July could be the same one used Thursday afternoon.

Now, she will also face two charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.