MONTEREY (CBS SF) — A man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a man on Interstate Highway 680 in Milpitas was killed by park rangers in Big Sur last weekend as he was indiscriminately firing his weapon as he walked along a trail, authorities said.
The District Attorney’s Office said Kevin Anthony Alaniz was hiding out in the Big Sur wilderness when he began to fire shots while walking along Mount Manuel Trail in Pfeiffer State Park on Saturday. He was confronted by three California State Park rangers who fatally shot him.
The California Highway Patrol had been searching for Alaniz ever since he was identified as a suspect in the June 17th fatal shooting of 30-year-old Matthew Rios as he was driving home from work.
“We are very confident they knew each other,” said CHP San Jose spokesman Rose Lee. “We just can’t elaborate on the relationship at this time.”
Lee said there was no indication that Alaniz was connected to any other of the recent Bay Area freeway shootings.
The victim’s mother Madonna Simmons told KPIX 5 that the alleged gunman was her fiancé’s son. Simmons says she is waiting for a sit-down meeting with investigators next week in which they are expected to lay out the facts of the case before allowing herself to believe her stepson is the person responsible for her son’s death.
“It doesn’t make sense. For me, it’s like a puzzle and I cannot put the pieces together,” a distraught Simmons said from her living room.
Simmons says the two young men bickered and generally did not get along but still finds it hard to believe one would be capable of killing the other.
Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said Alaniz’s car was found in the park and a makeshift campsite was discovered near the summit.
“He was trying to hide out because of the investigation in the Bay Area,” she told reporters.
CHP officers responded to northbound Highway 680 north of Landess Avenue at about 10 p.m. on the night of June 17th to find a bullet riddled vehicle in the center median.
Rios was inside the vehicle and appeared to have been shot. Paramedics and firefighters attempted life-saving procedures but he died soon afterward. No one else was in the vehicle.
“I went to his work, he’s supposed to be home at 9:45, but he didn’t come home,” Madonna Simmons, Rios’s mother, told KPIX 5. “I didn’t hear anything and I have a bad, bad feeling–something is wrong, something is really going on out there.”
That’s when Simmons turned onto I-680 and saw a group of flashing patrol lights near the Landess exit.
“I saw, like, traffic on the other side and I turned around, I exit on the next exit and I see a lot of cops, and I pulled over to the right and I said, ‘That is my car.’ They said, ‘How do you know that it’s your car?’” Madonna recalled.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Simmons wants to see her son’s killer prosecuted.
“Whoever is responsible for this, they have to pay for justice. My son is not going to rest. They have to pay the consequences,” said Simmons.