Truckee Police: Fatal downtown assault case our ‘No. 1 priority’ |

Truckee Police: Fatal downtown assault case our ‘No. 1 priority’

Bryan Luke Sperlin was arrested June 18 on suspicion of a felony charge of battery causing serious bodily injury.
Courtesy Nevada County Jail |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A Truckee native died this past weekend from injuries suffered in a late-night fight downtown in June, which may lead to additional charges against the man suspected of assaulting him, officials said.

According to a statement Tuesday from the Truckee Police Department, officers arrested Truckee resident Bryan Luke Sperlin, 24, on suspicion of felony assault after a “physical fight” occurred June 18 in downtown Truckee.

Officers responded at about 11:05 p.m. to Truckee’s downtown Commercial Row and located the victim, Jesse Hill, 39, of Chico, on the ground and unconscious.

Hill (a Truckee native and graduate of Truckee High School who had been living in Chico) was rushed to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with serious head injuries as a result of the assault.

Meanwhile, Sperlin was reportedly “still in the Commercial Row area,” police said Tuesday, and he was arrested without incident and booked into the Nevada County Jail.

His bail was set at $50,000 on suspicion of two felonies and one misdemeanor charge, and he has since been released. It was not immediately clear Tuesday if Sperlin has an attorney.

According to TPD, Hill remained in Renown’s Intensive Care Unit with family at his side until Sunday, July 3, when he died from his injuries.

An official cause of death is pending review of medical documents and an autopsy by the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office, which is reportedly being scheduled for some time this week.

The initial investigation, according to a June 21 statement from Truckee Police, revealed that Hill and Sperlin began a verbal argument earlier in the evening June 18 at the Tourist Club bar on Donner Pass Road, in downtown’s Commercial Row.

According to police, Hill left the T-Club and was later standing in front of the Pastime Club bar, located a few doors down. Sperlin was entering the Pastime Club when he and Hill began a second argument, leading to the fight that left Hill unconscious.

Since that information became public, several anonymous residents contacted the Sierra Sun to dispute TPD’s statement that indicated Sperlin and Hill were either entering or directly outside the Pastime Club when the assault occurred.

“We looked at the surveillance tape … they were not outside the (Pastime Club) … it’s complete bull—t that that’s what’s being reported,” one person told the Sun, while wishing to remain anonymous. “This had nothing to do with the Pastime Club … it occurred down the street, not in front of (the bar).”

Unlike the June 21 statement, Tuesday’s statement from Truckee Police indicated the incident occurred in the “downtown Commercial Row area of Truckee.”

When asked in a phone interview Tuesday why this week’s statement did not include specific business names, Womack said it’s simply “because they’ve already been identified.”

“It wouldn’t be accurate for me to say those businesses weren’t involved,” Womack said Tuesday.

Moving forward, the department is asking for additional witnesses to come forward, with Womack saying Tuesday that, “it’s our No. 1 priority; all of our detectives are working on it.”

In a separate statement, Womack added that, “This is a case where it is very important for us to speak to anyone who interacted with either the suspect or victim the night of the incident. People may believe that if they did not see the actual assault, they have no information to offer, but we are trying to reconstruct the entire evening, so any related information is helpful.”

Regarding the potential for additional charges such as manslaughter to be filed against Sperlin, TPD will continue to work with the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office, “and communicate with the victim’s family to find the most appropriate conclusion,” TPD Capt. Rob Leftwich said in a statement.

“Our office is committed to working with the Truckee Police Department as this investigation continues to unfold,” Assistant DA Joe Alexander added. “We join Sgt. Womack’s request that members of the public that have information come forward so that we can accurately assess the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hill’s tragic death and proceed accordingly. Our sympathies go out to Mr. Hill’s family.”

Anyone with information should contact Womack at, or call Truckee Police at 530-550-2323.

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