CHICO, Calif. - Chico Police released stunning new details into the shooting of an up-and-coming assistant church pastor during a news conference Thursday.
David Yang, 26, was found slumped behind the wheel of his Toyota sedan around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, at the intersection of Highway 32 and Bruce Road in Chico. He was dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m., police arrested a suspect in the case, Jeffrey James Menzies, 27.
Officers found Menzies' car near the scene of the shooting. Inside they found two firearms and shotgun shells. Menzies had reported his car stolen that afternoon. But after questioning him, police were able to connect him to the crime scene.
At their news conference Thursday afternoon, investigators told KRCR News Channel 7 how they think the shooting played out.
According to police, Menzies had been "partying all night" and was drunk. They say he drove to the intersection of Highway 32 and Bruce Road, got out of his car, armed himself with a hunting rifle and hid in the tall grass.
Officers say when Yang pulled up to the stoplight, Menzies opened fire.
Police say Menzies was too far from the intersection to make out the age, sex, or ethnicity of the driver and it could have been anyone. They say the two men did not appear to know each other and the shooting does not appear to be a hate crime.
KRCR News Channel 7 spoke with the suspect's brother, Daniel Menzies, early Thursday. He said he can't believe his brother would shoot anyone. Daniel said he was with his brother Tuesday evening, hours before the killing. He said noticed nothing unusual about his brother's behavior.
Daniel said Jeffrey is divorced, a Navy veteran and works as a part-time employee in a farming business. He was about to begin a full-time position.
The victim. David Yang, is a 2010 graduate of the Pastoral Studies program at Simpson University in Redding. Family members told KRCR News Channel 7 he had moved to Butte County to work with the Hmong Alliance Church of Oroville. Friends and family gathered at Simpson University Wednesday night for a prayer service. Some staff members at Simpson University said they were devastated by his death.
"David loved fishing, loved being with friends," said Travis Osborne of Simpson University. "Who could have seen this, who could have foreseen that David would get up and say today's my last day, no one could have seen that."
"I think David was the most positive person I've ever met," said Kendell Kluttz of Simpson University. "He just has this infectious smile. His laughter sounded like an Elmo doll when he would laugh. He would hug you when he saw you, he would hug you when he'd leave you. One time I asked why do you hug so much? He said I hug because I don't know if this will be the last time that I see you."
David is survived by his wife, Sarah. Campus officials say they're in the process of starting a care fund for David's family, but the details are still being worked out.