VALLEJO, Calif. – Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of a squatter who was shot by a California property owner, authorities said. The property owner was impaled with a sword during the altercation.
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The incident at a trailer park in Vallejo happened early Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Police said the suspects were legally liable for the death of their roommate, according to the KTVU.
A witness told the newspaper that the owner of the property, identified as Curt Lind, 80, came to his trailer covered in blood.
“He banged on my door with a sword right through him,” Patrick McMillan, a renter who lives in a mobile home on the property, told the Chronicle. McMillan told the newspaper that Lind was his landlord and best friend.
The names of the suspects and the deceased were not released, KTVU reported. The Solano County Attorney’s Office will decide whether to file a formal murder charge, according to the broadcaster.
One of those shot, a 31-year-old Vallejo resident, died at the scene, according to the Chronicle. The other person, who is 27, was taken to a nearby hospital along with Lind. Both are in critical condition, police said.
The confrontation was apparently the result of an eviction fight that had recently intensified, the newspaper reported. For years, Lind had tried to evict a group of people his family claimed were not paying rent, KTVU reported. Lind had bought the property and put 20-foot trailers and shipping containers on the land so he could rent them out to people who couldn’t afford the cost of living in Vallejo, McMillan told the Chronicle. Lind also lived on the property.
McMillan told the newspaper he believes deputies from the Solano County Sheriff’s Office were removing several people from the property on Tuesday, and that led to the incident.
“A big part of that problem has been this rental moratorium, COVID,” Lind’s son, Carl Lind, told KTVU. “People took advantage of it”
The group Curt Lind was trying to evict lived in a cluster of trucks, McMillan told the Chronicle. They initially paid rent but stopped paying during the pandemic.
“He had an agreement that they would fix their vehicles and then they would leave,” Curt Lind’s daughter, Dina Morrill, told the newspaper in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
“The truth is, they attacked him,” Carl Lind told KTVU.
At one point, McMillan said the property owner opened fire with a gun.
“After they attacked him, he drew his gun and shot two of them, killing one of them. The other had three shots in the chest,” McMillan told the TV station.
“[Lind]had a samurai sword on his back sticking out about a foot in front, his face was cut all over,” McMillan told KTVU.
Curt Lind is conscious but still in severe pain, Morrill said on Wednesday. He also has a tube in his chest and numerous staples and stitches on his face and back, the Chronicle reported.
She set up a GoFundMe page to help him with his medical bills.
“My dad always thinks for the best of people and unfortunately some people take advantage of that,” Morrill told the Chronicle. “What he thought was a good idea turned into a nightmare.”
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