California sheriff’s deputy in custody after double slaying
Sep 7, 2022, 2:30 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California sheriff’s deputy turned himself in to law enforcement hours after he was accused in the fatal slayings of a husband and wife in their home early Wednesday, authorities said.
Devin Williams Jr., a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, called authorities after he fled the shooting and said he wanted to turn himself in, officials said.
Police stayed on the phone with him until the off-duty deputy was taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol in a rural, desolate area near the Central Valley city of Coalinga, about 160 miles (258 kilometers) south of the crime scene.
Police had earlier launched a manhunt for Williams, 24, and warned he was considered armed and dangerous.
“It’s a great loss for our community and it’s even more disheartening to find out that it was one of our own that was the trigger-person behind this tragic incident,” said Dublin Police Chief Garrett Holmes, who is also a commander in the sheriff’s office.
Authorities said Williams was in a mental health crisis and Holmes personally spent 45 minutes on the phone talking with the deputy to convince him to surrender.
Police were called to a home in Dublin — a city in the East Bay about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from downtown San Francisco — around 12:45 a.m. The 911 caller said an intruder had come into the home brandishing a gun and shot two people before fleeing in a vehicle, Holmes said at a news conference.
Witnesses identified the gunman as Williams.
Police said Williams used his service weapon in the shooting and threw it out his car window as he fled. Detectives were still searching for the gun.
Both victims, a 42-year-old woman and a 58-year-old man whose names were not immediately released, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Williams knew the couple but investigators were still trying “to fine-tune their connection” and determine the motive, according to Alameda County sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Ray Kelly.
The couple have an adolescent child who was in the home at the time of the slayings, Kelly said. Also in the home was a male relative of the couple who was visiting.
He was unhurt and was talking to detectives about what occurred, Kelly said.
“This was not a random crime,” Kelly said. This is a very bizarre chain of events that unfolded,” he added.
Kelly said Williams went through “some significant events” in his life in the last few months that led to the killings but did not specify what had happened.
“A lot of those events went undiscovered and undisclosed and we’re going to be looking into that. There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said.
Kelly said Williams had been with the sheriff’s office since September 2021 and was still on probation. He had been assigned to the Oakland courthouse and there were no concerns about his job performance.
“This is a tragedy. We’re all in shock here,” Kelly said.
Wednesday was Williams’ one-year anniversary with the sheriff’s office and the agency’s investigators were spending it trying to figure out what prompted the violence.
“He grew up in a very affluent home, well-loved, graduated from college with honors, was really a remarkable young person. How we got here today, it will be part of our investigation and something we’re looking at,” Kelly said.
Williams, who is from Stockton, briefly worked with the Stockton Police Department, where he completed their police academy but was ultimately let go after he failed their field training program, Kelly said.
Stockton Police spokesperson Officer Joseph Silva said he could not discuss why Williams left the department because it is a “personnel matter.” He confirmed Williams worked for the Stockton Police Department from January 2020 to January 2021.
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Alameda County, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dazio reported from Los Angeles.