‘Dirty bird’ picks death over going to prison | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Dirty bird’ picks death over going to prison

Christina Proctor

Thomas Linn Hansen told his girlfriend that he would shoot it out with the police before allowing them to capture him. He went out shooting but the only victim was himself.

After leading four police agencies on a high-speed chase June 4 through the heart of South Lake Tahoe, Hansen killed himself with a single gunshot to the head.

The 35-year-old Sacramento man was wanted by police for shooting his girlfriend in the shoulder on May 20. It was not his first criminal act.

“He was a dirty bird,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Gibson. “He had a long criminal history.”

Martin Johnson, a casual acquaintance and neighbor of Hansen, claimed that before coming up to South Lake Tahoe, Hansen robbed him, held him at gunpoint, and terrorized him by playing a game of Russian roulette.

Johnson said on June 4, Hansen pulled a gun on him and forced him to withdraw $300 at an ATM. Johnson said Hansen appeared to be high on drugs and extremely paranoid.

“Every car that came by he thought it was a cop,” Johnson said. “They stopped a really bad guy.”

Johnson said he got away when Hansen left him alone to go into another room of his apartment. Johnson didn’t report the crime until after he learned Hansen was dead.

Around 11 p.m. that same night Hansen surfaced in Meyers. California Highway Patrol officers attempted to pull Hansen over after getting a call of a male driving erratically and brandishing a weapon. Hansen continued through town on U.S. Highway 50 only slowing when road spikes placed in front of Embassy Suites punctured at least two of his tires. He lost control of his vehicle on Upper Lake Parkway and killed himself as law enforcement officers moved in.

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