Investigators Try to Uncover Motive Behind Deadly Shooting Spree in Placer County

ROSEVILLE -- Placer County sheriff's investigators and Roseville police have continued to try to make sense of Tuesday night's shooting spree that resulted in the death of an elderly woman and the shooting suspect.

A police pursuit through Placer County ended at the Interstate 80, Highway 65 interchange. That's where the gunman’s pickup truck ended up after colliding with multiple vehicles during the pursuit.

He was killed after shots were exchanged with numerous officers.

"Multiple officers from multiple jurisdictions were involved in not only the shooting but in the entire incident," said Roseville police Officer Rob Baquera.

It began in Newcastle, where witnesses saw a pickup truck pulling a trailer with a motorcycle on it speeding in tight circles.

"He started going in circles and my friend goes, 'You got to watch this guy doing donuts over here,'" said nearby business owner Rod Engberson. "We didn’t know he had a gun. We just thought he was trying to lose a motorcycle off a trailer."

The suspect then parked the pickup in front of Engberson’s business for 15 minutes. Engberson called 911 but before deputies arrived he heard gunfire.

"Some say two clips, I heard three," Engberson recalled.

What the suspect was shooting at is still unknown. Afterward, he slowly and calmly drove away.

But he apparently wasn’t finished. He traveled down Rock Springs Road in Penryn where 93-year-old Mary Toste was found shot to death in front of her home.

The gunman then shot and injured a man in a vehicle. The victim drove to a Loomis fire station for aid.

Another driver was shot at but wasn’t hit.

A resident on Rock Springs said the suspect parked directly in front of her house for several minutes before firing his gun. She and her young children had to dive for cover.

"There are seven crime scenes that we’re looking at right now throughout south Placer County and it's going to take some while to get down into those details," said Placer County sheriff's Lt. Andrew Scott.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive and whether any of the victims knew the suspect. Right now, they believe they were random acts of violence.

A K-9 officer was shot during the gunfight but is recovering, as is the motorist who was shot and injured.

So far the name of the dead suspect has not been reported.

Neighbors Shocked, Devastated

Neighbors along Rock Springs Road are still trying to make sense of the violent shooting spree and mourning the loss of a neighbor.

“She didn’t deserve to have someone do that to her. Why?” neighbor Mary Valente said. “She had a great laugh and she was just a one of a kind woman. I mean, salt of the earth.”

Toste was tough as nails, according to her neighbors.

“It was a day like this and she was blowing out the leaves. She wanted the leaves clean before it rained,” neighbor Frank Valente said.

Toste was shot and killed at her front door, down a narrow and steep driveway. The shooting still baffles her neighbors.

“It wasn’t like her house was easy to find or get up to,” Mary Valente said.

Murder was the last thing on Mary Valente’s husband Frank’s mind when he heard the gunshots shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“I thought, 'OK, somebody’s killing a coyote,'" he said.

But those gunshots were soon followed by a call from across the street.

“Our friends called us and said, ‘There’s a shooter, an active shooter in the neighborhood. Lock your house,’” Frank Valente said.

Further down Rock Springs Road, that same message was being passed.

“’Shots fired, out of his vehicle, could be in the area,’ so immediately we hunkered down,” neighbor Mark Manausa said.

Manausa says he heard four gunshots. Investigators say the gunman had made his way down the street and shot into the home right across from Manausa’s.

“(A neighbor) told me a shot had come through his kitchen wall and hit his kitchen table,” Manausa said.

One door down, Obie Maurer says he didn’t hear the shot but he saw the bullet in his neighbor’s house.

Maurer says he struggles reflecting on the totality of all that’s happened along the suspect’s shooting spree -- Toste killed at her home, a man shot in his car, the gunman killed by police and a K-9 shot.

“I’m searching for words but it’s kind of alarming," he said. "You just never know what’s going to happen in your neighborhood. Things change.”

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