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Officers Thanked For Efforts In Family Dollar Investigation
police meet
Several members of the Escalon Police Department that were involved in the investigation into the robbery and shooting at Family Dollar in Escalon in October were able to meet with the victim, Samantha Gammel, on Dec. 2 at the police station, as she thanked them for their efforts in concluding the incident with a pair of arrests. Photo Courtesy Of Escalon Police Department

A little less than two months after being seriously injured during an attempted robbery at Escalon’s Family Dollar on Jackson Avenue, the victim shot during that incident made a visit to the Escalon Police Station on Friday, Dec. 2.

It was a scheduled meeting; Samantha Gammel wanted the opportunity to personally thank the officers that responded to the call that night in October, as well as those that were involved in the subsequent investigation. Ultimately, two suspects were arrested and booked into jail on charges including attempted murder and robbery, among others.

But Friday was about Gammel and her gratitude for the department.

Police Chief Gustavo Flores said officers that were able to meet with her included Travis Sharp, Jesus Rodriguez, John Walls, Sergeant Jose Zambrano, Lawrence Baldonado, Joseph Figone and himself.

Sergeant Anthony Hardgraves was unable to attend the meeting but was involved in the investigation as well.

“She came in to thank everyone,” the chief said.

Shot several times during the Monday evening, Oct. 10 robbery attempt, Gammel underwent emergency surgery that night. She has made steady progress since that time.

“She told us that she was doing a lot better,” Flores said of the meeting with officers. “She uses a walker to move around.”

She also goes to physical therapy and Flores said she wanted the opportunity to meet with and thank the officers because she is planning to move out of state.

Flores and several members of the department were also in attendance at the Monday night, Dec. 5 Escalon City Council meeting, with the chief offering formal recognition to the officers involved.

“I want to take this opportunity to recognize the men and women that represent the Escalon Police Department,” Flores said, adding that some worked the investigation on the scene and others stayed busy behind-the-scenes, coordinating with multiple other agencies.

Flores said Escalon worked cooperatively with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, Oakdale Police Department, Stockton Police Department and the California Department of Corrections. The investigation led to the arrest of suspects Andre Brooks, 34, and Brian Sewell, 33; both face multiple felony counts and were linked to robberies and attempted robberies in other cities including Oakdale, Waterford and Stockton.

The officers able to attend the council meeting on Monday night for the presentation were brought up to the podium as Flores praised their efforts.

“This is our future right here,” he told the council.

The officers received a standing ovation from those in the council chambers for the meeting.