VALLEJO, Calif. – Two people were arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of a fellow squatter who was shot and killed by a California property owner, authorities said. The property owner was impaled by a sword during the confrontation.
The incident at a Vallejo trailer yard occurred early Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Police said the suspects are legally liable for the death of their fellow squatter, according to KTVU.
A witness told the newspaper that the property owner, identified as Curt Lind, 80, came to his mobile home covered in blood.
“He came banging on my door with a sword sticking through him,” Patrick McMillan, a tenant 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 person who died were not released, KTVU reported. The Solano County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether to file formal murder charges, according to the television station.
One of the people shot, a 31-year-old Vallejo resident, died at the scene, according to the Chronicle. The other person, who is 27, was taken to an area hospital, along with Lind. Both were in critical condition, police said.
The confrontation apparently was the result of an eviction battle that had recently intensified, the newspaper reported. For years, Lind had been attempting to evict a group of people whom his family claimed were not paying the rent, KTVU reported. Lind had bought the property, placing 20-foot trailers and shipping containers on the land so he could rent them to people who were unable to afford the cost of housing in Vallejo, McMillan told the Chronicle. Lind also lived on the property.
McMillan told the newspaper that he believed deputies with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office were going to remove several people from the property on Tuesday, and that was what led to the incident.
“A big part of this problem was this moratorium on rent, COVID,” Lind’s son, Carl Lind, told KTVU. “People took advantage of it.”
The group that Curt Lind was attempting to evict lived in a cluster of trailer trucks, McMillan told the Chronicle. Initially, they paid rent but stopped paying during the pandemic.
“He had an agreement that they were going to fix up their vehicles, and then they were going to leave,” Curt Lind’s daughter, Dina Morrill, told the newspaper in a telephone interview on Wednesday.”
“The truth is, they jumped him,” Carl Lind told KTVU.
At some point, McMillan said the property owner opened fire with a gun.
“After they attacked him he got his gun out and shot two of them, killed one of them. The other one had three shots to the chest,” McMillan told the television station.
“(Lind) had a samurai sword stuck to his back with about a foot of it sticking out in front, his face cut up all over,” McMillan told KTVU.
Curt Lind was conscious but still in severe pain, Morrill said Wednesday. He also has a tube in his chest and numerous staples and stitches on his face and back, the Chronicle reported.
She has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with his medical bills.
“My dad always thinks 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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