ORINDA (CBS SF) – An older couple returning from a trip to the grocery store were beaten and shot in their driveway by two masked men in a quiet Orinda neighborhood Monday night, authorities said.
Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel said the brazen robbery took place at around 9 p.m. in the 30 block of Claremont.
Authorities said 70-year-old Carol Brown had picked her husband, 63-year-old Tom Spalding, up at the Orinda BART station and stopped off at a Safeway before returning to the couple’s home on a quiet, tree-lined street.
As they were departing their car and unloading groceries, two men wearing Halloween masks approached them and demanded their money.
Initially, they thought it was a joke.
“We actually thought it was my son and buddy doing a pre-Halloween prank,” said Spalding. “Then I saw the guns and the guy said, ‘Give it up!'”
Spalding gave up his wallet, but was still pistol whipped in the driveway of his Orinda home.
“I’m sort of shaken,” said Spalding. “Nobody expects this to happen to their life.”
He was able to make his way into the home, authorities said, to call 911 when he heard two shots.
“Meanwhile, Carol still thought it was a joke and was fighting to keep her purse. When I saw the guns I realized it was not anybody’s joke,” explained Spalding.
Brown was shot twice in the shoulder and pelvis. Brown was taken by ambulance to John Muir Medical Center, where she was in stable condition with non-life-threatening wounds.
She is still in the hospital.
Officers aided by K-9s searched the neighborhood, but the gunmen could not be located.
Brown is Vice President of the Orinda School Board. The family has lived in this quiet community for more than 35 years.
Police said it is the likely the suspects followed them home from the store, but they certainly knew the neighborhood because they parked their car facing down the street. It was the only one way in and out of the area.
“This is very rare in Orinda,” said Police Chief Mark Nagel. “Neighbors heard the shots and car leaving at a high rate of speed, and that means tires squealing. We are canvassing the area and looking for witnesses.”
Police are reviewing surveillance cameras in the neighborhood. Suspects got away with Brown’s phone and they are tracing it. Police said the couple’s credit cards have been used since the robbery and that investigators are looking into that.