Motive sought in slaying of CHP officer by Tehama man
Law enforcement is still seeking the motive behind the fatal shooting of a California Highway Patrol officer in Walnut Creek by a Rancho Tehama man on Tuesday.
After pulling out a handgun and shooting 37-year-old CHP Officer Kenyon Youngstrom on Highway 680 at 8:20 a.m., Christopher Boone Lacy, 36, was fatally wounded when he was shot by Youngstrom's fellow-officer, whose name has not been released by the California Highway Patrol.
Later in the day Tuesday, Lacy's Stagecoach Road residence, a single-wide mobile home with a fenced and gated yard, was surrounded by law enforcement who entered the property with a search warrant in hand.
Jimmy Lee, Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman, said the CHP seized six computers and servers from the property.
"We are still trying to understand the motive behind this tragic incident," Lee said. "The computers and servers and now in the hands of the department's High Tech Crime Unit for forensic analysis."
Inside the vehicle Lacy was driving, law enforcement located a loaded semi-automatic handgun, along with a shoulder holster containing two loaded magazines and additional ammunition, reported the sheriff's office, which is investigating the incident with the CHP and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.
Lacy has been reported to be smart, but mentally troubled.
"He lived alone and was pretty much a loner, I don't think he even had any pets," said Lacy's neighbor Gary Zimmer. "He seemed to be a really nice guy, easy to get along with as far as neighbors go and jogged almost everyday. There must have been something in his past that triggered such a terrible thing to happen."
Zimmer said Lacy worked as a computer programmer out of his home during the time he lived in Rancho Tehama, less than two years.
"He said he was going to the Bay Area on Tuesday, something about a new job," Dimmer stated. "He left here around 5 a.m."
Lee said Youngstrom had pulled over a woman on the highway because she was allegedly using her cell phone while driving, and was in the process of giving her a ticket when Youngstrom received a call of a traffic accident.
"I don't know why, but for some reason the woman's car was going to be towed," Lee stated. "When Officer Youngstrom went back to her car he told her it was her lucky day and she could drive away."
Unable to find the reported accident, Youngstrom cleared the detail, and agreed to meet his CHP partner on southbound 680 to handle a large dead deer that was on the side of the roadway, Lee said.
"Officer Youngstrom arrived first and had stepped out of his vehicle when his partner notified Youngstrom he was making a traffic stop on a green Jeep that had an obstructed license plate," said the spokesman.
It appears Youngstrom motioned the Jeep to pull onto the shoulder of the highway behind his patrol vehicle, at which time the other CHP officer pulled behind the Jeep, said Lee.
"According to dashcam video, Officer Youngstrom walked up to the driver's side window of the Jeep and had a very short conversation with the driver, Christopher Lacy, who then pulled out a gun and shot the officer," Lee said.
Hearing the gunshot and seeing his partner go down, Youngstrom's partner, who had exited his patrol vehicle, immediately pulled his gun and fired several shots at the suspect through the rear window of the Jeep, striking and fatally wounding Lacy, Lee explained.
Youngstrom's partner and a passing driver who stopped to help, rendered aid to the fallen officer.
Youngstrom, suffering a bullet wound to his head, was transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he died after being taken off life-support on Wednesday. It has been reported that his organs and body tissue have been donated to the nonprofit California Transplant Donor Network.
Lacy was also transported to John Muir Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, said a press release.
Lee said plans for a memorial for Youngstrom, a seven-year veteran of the force, married and the father of four, has not yet been finalized.
Donation accounts have been set up for Youngstrom's children, ages 16, 13, 10 and 4. Donors can visit any Wells Fargo or Mechanics Bank and give money to the "Kenyon Marc Youngstrom Children's Benefit Memorial Fund."
Lee an autopsy was conducted on Lacy and his cause of death was listed as gunshot wound to the head. His body has not yet been released to his family.