CITRUS HEIGHTS, Sacramento County (CBS) — Police said Thursday they had detained a skinhead friend of slain white supremacist leader and San Francisco native David Lynch, but had not charged him as yet in Wednesday’s murder of Lynch.
A statement released by Citrus Heights police said they had detained Charles Gilbert Demar III, 36, as a “person of interest” following a traffic stop in Rancho Cordova. He was being held on $1 million bail after being taken into custody at gunpoint.
“CHPD detectives spoke with him and, as a result, did not arrest him for the homicide,” the police statement said. “In an unrelated event, CHPD detectives arrested Mr. Demar for narcotics-related charges and subsequently booked him into Sacramento jail on those charges.”
The Sacramento Bee reported that Demar is also a known skinhead and leader of a white supremacist band that markets its music nationwide.
The 40-year-old Lynch was a well-known power player in the white supremacy movement and has been active for decades, organizing a number of protests across the country.
“He was originally from San Francisco and then ended up here after living in Florida for a while and bouncing across the country,” Sacremento County Sheriff’s Lt. Milo Fitch said.
Lynch was shot and killed in his residence in the 5900 block of Merlindale Drive in Citrus Heights just before 4 a.m. Wednesday. His 33-year-old girlfriend was wounded in the leg and is expected to survive.
A third adult and a teen were also inside the home at the time of the shooting and were not injured.
Local law enforcement officers have known Lynch for years and say his absence will be a blow to many white supremacy groups.
“He’s probably one of the most well-known, influential figures in the movement,” said Fitch. “This is absolutely a significant event… it will send shockwaves.”
Friends and members of various groups said Lynch was capable of bringing together various organizations that were at odds with each other.
“He was the kind of guy who could and did get along with everyone,” said Bill Roper, head of Arkansas-based White Revolution.
Roper said Lynch’s racist activism began in the national skinhead coalition American Front, and he later became leader of the Sacto Skins, one of the oldest skinhead gangs in the country.
It is unlikely the murder was politically motivated, Roper said, but Lynch will likely be lauded as a martyr regardless of the killer’s motive.
Anti-hate groups agreed that Lynch was a powerful figure within his movement. Anti-Defamation League spokesman Dan Sandman said Lynch was a “hardcore hater” who had the ability to unite disparate groups.
“It will be a blow not only to his organization, but also to other organizations who relied on him as a conduit from one group to the next,” Sandman said.