STOCKTON — A badly damaged Honda Civic led investigators to a suspected killer.
The Stockton CHP reports that the driver of the vehicle, Matthew Barnec, 23, was arrested Friday. Barnec had hit a bicyclist who then died Thursday night on westbound Frontage Road in Stockton.
“Front end of the car was kind of ripped off, so I had assumed that the car had actually hit another car or something,” said Mike Money of Stockton.
The bicyclist was John Eric Stevens, 27, of Stockton. Kenneth Holbrook, a friend of Stevens, says the victim was a dad.
“He was a good dude,” Holbrook said. “I mean he was decent just like any of us. He was human.”
Holbrook lives underneath the overpass near Shadow Lake Mobile Home Park. He says he heard arguing coming from the white 1997 Honda Civic and then, he said, “heard like two gunshots later like I don’t know, three.”
Near the mobile home park Friday afternoon, white markings were seen near the entrance. Witnesses say that’s where the Honda Civic was found, along with Raymond Lawrence Schenone, 23, and Michelle Joanne Vargas, 23, inside, both dead.
Investigators have not released how the two residents of Stockton died. Police had been searching for the driver of the vehicle, which was stolen out of Stockton Wednesday, after he fled on foot.
“Well, it gives me the goosebumps,” explained Teresa Cast, who works near where the car was found. “It’s just really, really…it’s horrible.”
While families try to wrap their heads around what exactly happened, they’re just in shock and grief.
“Well, you don’t want to see that with anybody you know that’s someone’s child; they’re probably parents of someone else,” Money said.
Barnec, a resident of Stockton, was charged at the San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of felony hit and run, as well as any additional charges pending investigation of Schenone’s and Vargas’ deaths.