On November 18,
1943, Deputy Sheriff Walter J. Leinberger,
a popular deputy in the Broderick
area (now known as West Sacramento)
was shot to death outside a Bryte
cabin where he had gone to arrest
a man for burglary.
Leinberger, accompanied by his
was attempting to
arrest 38 year old Luis “Ironmouth” Balle,
when Balle burst out of the cabin
firing his pistol, slaying Deputy
Leinberger as his wife watched. Mrs.
Leinberger, who had never fired a
gun before, took her husband’s
weapon and fired six times at the
gunman. She thought she missed him,
as he was able to escape, but it
was later discovered that she wounded
him twice in the arm.
In less than twenty-four hours,
authorities caught up with Balle
in a Sacramento alley. During a shoot
out with the lawmen, Balle sustained
bullet wounds that later proved fatal.
Ralph W. Bonnetti, then a Folsom
Prison guard and a close friend of
the slain deputy, was among the officers
who finally caught up with Balle.
Bonnetti was later hired as a deputy
by Yolo County Sheriff Forrest Monroe,
and in 1952 was elected judge of
the Washington Judicial District
Court in Eastern Yolo County.
Leinberger’s son William,
who was eleven years old at the time
of his father’s death, joined
the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department
in September 1956 and retired as
a sergeant in 1984.
November 1991, county law enforcement
gathered to dedicate the
Sheriff’s new $3.5 million
minimum-security center to the memory
of Walter J. Leinberger.