Loved Ones Remember Rancho Cordova Shooting Victim as Suspect Speaks Out from Jail

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RANCHO CORDOVA -- Two days after losing a husband, father and friend, those who loved Victor Barrientos Jr. offered up prayers for him Monday.

"If you needed help he would go help you no matter where you were at," said Barrientos' brother-in-law, Francisco Gomez.

"Always a happy person. He would always make friends," said Johana Gomez, Barrientos' sister-in-law. "Even though he didn't know you, he'd treat you as a friend. He was just an amazing person."

Sheriff's deputies found Barrientos wounded in the street at the Rancho Cordova intersection of Astral Drive and Burline Street. He had been shot in the upper body.

Family members say he died half a mile away from home while driving his pickup truck and hanging up signs for a yard sale.

"This guy just came up to him and told him not to hang it on his court, on his area," Johana Gomez said. "So my brother-in-law just left but this guy just came after him."

According to investigators, the fatal shots were fired Saturday morning as part of a road rage incident.

Mathew Shaffer, who is now behind bars for the murder, told FOX40 he suffers from schizophrenia.

He claims a pickup truck driving on the wrong side of the road hit him and the two friends he was walking with just shy of three miles away from his own house. He refused to reveal the name of the two friends.

"A guy pulled a gun out the window and said he was going to shoot me," Shaffer said.

Shaffer claims not to remember anyone actually shooting. He said he has never owned a gun.

Court records indicate that back in 2005 a charge against him for assault with a firearm was dismissed. That same year he pled no contest to another charge for attempted robbery.

Shaffer's mother said she did not want to comment when FOX40 tried to ask her about the circumstances surrounding her son's arrest.

Barrientos worked in construction and landscaping so that his wife could be a stay-at-home mother to their three kids. Now she and their children, ages 2, 7 and 9, have no income.

A GoFundMe campaign been set up to help support them.

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