SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco school teacher on Tuesday described the terror she experienced when she and her family came face to face with the man investigators say fatally shot a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy over the weekend.
The teacher — who asked KPIX 5 to only use her first name, Esme — broke down in tears several times as she shared the terrifying encounter her family had with the suspect and how they tried to stop him.
37-year-old David Machado on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to gunning down Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace on Sunday near Modesto before stealing Esme’s car. He then drove 150 miles to a small town where he was arrested after trying to steal a woman’s purse.
“I am constantly…flashing back. I’m seeing his face,” remembered Esme. “I feel fear. At the same time, I feel gratitude that he didn’t kill us.”
At one point during the interview, the cameras were turned off as she struggled to recount the terrifying moments in her father’s garage.
She said the morning started like any typical Sunday with the family.
“It was about 8:30 in the morning, I had woken up and was talking to my stepmom in the kitchen,” said Esme.
She was looking out the sliding glass doors when she saw Machado.
“He jumps over…I said to my stepmom, ‘That man! There’s a man! He’s jumping over a fence!'” said Esme.
That was the beginning of her family’s two minutes of terror.
“We started to run through the house, My son is asleep in the living room,” recalled Esme. “We run through the house, because he’s going up the side of the house on the outside.”
Esme’s stepmom woke her brother up and the three of them ran to the garage where Esme’s dad was detailing her car, a white 2009 Kia Rio.
It was there they came face-to-face with Machado.
“He walked straight up to my dad,” Esme remembered haltingly through tears. “He said…he said, ‘Give me the keys!’ And my dad said, ‘Do you have a gun?’ And then the man said, ‘Yes, I do.’ And my dad said, ‘Take it!'”
They knew Machado had a gun. What they didn’t know was, according to investigators, just 20 minutes earlier, the man had shot and killed Deputy Wallace.
Machado shot him twice in the head, execution style.
Esme said she stood frozen in her father’s garage in that moment.
“It was at that point that I literally…I just had to look away because I…if he shot my dad, I couldn’t watch,” said Esme. “I couldn’t watch my dad get shot.”
When asked what went through her mind as she stood there, Esme replied, “You know, I was in total disbelief. Like it was so unreal. Like it…it couldn’t be happening.”
But as Machado got in the car, he said something to Esme and her family.
“He apologized to us multiple times. ‘I’m sorry,'” said Esme. “More than once.”
Then, unexpectedly, Esme’s stepmom approached Machado as he sat in Esme’s car
“He was, in my opinion, rambling. He was saying, ‘The government took my kids.’ He said, ‘My family, they’re gone,'” said Esme. “He was crying. She [her stepmom] said he was crying the whole time. He seemed to like pause and listen when she said, ‘What’s going on with you?’ Like, ‘What’s happening with you? Is there anything we can do to help?’ He paused.”
Esme said that’s when she thought Machado had a brief moment of clarity.
“What I’m thinking now is that, it flashed back into his head what he had just done, you know, with the deputy,” explained Esme.
But Machado was gone moments later.
“He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt you!’ And then she [Esme’s stepmother] just kind of knew at that point to close the door and he backed out and took off,” said Esme.
When law enforcement later told her that this was a man who tied to the killing of the deputy, she was shaken.
“I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Esme later found out the suspect took her car and drove a few hours south.
Investigators said Machado robbed a liquor store and tried to steal a purse from a woman at a convenience store in Tulare County town of Lindsay.
Authorities said the woman fought back against Machado, who ran from the scene, and called Lindsay police. Officers chased after Machado and took him into custody without incident.
According to charges filed Tuesday, Machado has a history of weapons arrests and was free on bail when prosecutors say he shot and killed a Deputy Wallace.