SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Colorado man who allegedly shot three people, killing one, in his estranged wife’s east Santa Rosa home Sunday night also rigged his vehicle with an improvised explosive device, a Santa Rosa police lieutenant said Monday afternoon.
The estranged husband, Walter Ross, 65, shot himself in the head and is in a hospital with life-threatening injuries, Lt. John Cregan said.
Cregan identified the man who was killed as Timothy Gillaspie, 43, of Santa Rosa.
Gillaspie, his wife and two sons ages 11 and 14 were having dinner at the Garfield Park Avenue house in Bennett Valley with Ross’s 41-year-old son and Ross’s daughter-in-law, Cregan said. Gillaspie was killed when he tried to shut the door to prevent Ross from entering the house, Cregan said.
Cregan said Gillaspie, who never met Ross, is “a truly innocent victim.”
“He is a hero who stepped up and tried to prevent the altercation at the front door when he was killed,” Cregan said.
Cregan said Ross might not have been aware his estranged wife was not home as he “blindly fired” the two handguns he carried when he got in the door. The gunfire injured Ross’s son and Ross’s 4-year-old grandson, Cregan said.
“This is an unusual and horrific event for this community,” Cregan said.
The improvised explosive device in Ross’s parked white pickup with Colorado plates would have gone off when someone tried to open the driver’s door, Cregan said.
A police officer noticed a gas tank in the back seat with an attached trip wire running to the driver’s side door. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad disposed of the explosive devices, Cregan said.
Ross additionally had five more explosive devices in a bag on his person, authorities said.
Ross and his wife, who has not been identified, have been estranged for two years. Their divorce was to be filed this month, according to Cregan.
Police received multiple 9-1-1 calls around 8:04 p.m. Sunday about gunshots in the 400 block of Garfield Park Avenue. Officers heard a single shot as they approached the house but they were unsure if it was fired at them or someone inside the house.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s SWAT team also responded because they had just completed another incident.
Gillaspie was active with the Rincon Valley Little League, Cregan said.
The League has established a fund for Gillaspie’s family and donations can be sent to Rincon Valley Little League at P.O. Box 2523, Santa Rosa, CA, 95405.
Cregan said the homicide is the third in the city of Santa Rosa this year.
Anyone with information on what may have led up to the shooting or any other information on the case is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3590. Tipsters can request to remain anonymous, police said.
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