Update: The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect in the Monday, July 9 alleged car pursuit and shooting as Zachary Linboyd Estepp, 25, of Herlong, according to the most recent statement Wednesday, July 11.
The statement alleged Estepp had “an extensive criminal history with criminal convictions out of multiple central valley counties.”
Through the course of the investigation, deputies connected Estepp to a theft at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Susanville earlier that Monday.
The official cause of Estepp’s death is being determined by the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s report, as well as toxicology results.
An evening pursuit and confrontation eventually left one person dead and another injured Monday, July 9.
According to a statement from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the local CHP Communications Center started receiving reports of a reckless driver in a white pickup truck with U-Haul decals driving northbound on Highway 395 near the Honey Lake Rest Stop at about 7 p.m.
A CHP officer located the now deceased driver, whose identity has yet to be released, traveling at about 105 miles per hour, the statement continued, before the CHP officer lost sight of the pickup truck. However, a passing motorist informed CHP the reckless driver had turned onto Hicks Road and then traveled southbound on Ponderosa Drive.
At the intersection of Hicks Road and Ponderosa Drive, the statement noted, the suspect lost control of the vehicle and collided with a vehicle traveling southbound on Hicks Road, causing injuries to the vehicle’s occupant. The suspect fled the scene of the collision on foot and additional Susanville area CHP officers and Lassen County Sheriff deputies responded to the area.
CHP officers were then summoned by residents of a dwelling located south west of the collision on Hicks Road where the officers observed a pickup truck in the back yard of the residence.
According to the statement, officers were informed the homeowner had fired a single round from a handgun at the occupant of the truck.
The driver was believed to be the suspect who had fled the scene of the vehicle collision, the statement alleged.
CHP officers checked the occupant of the vehicle and finding no signs of life, the driver was declared deceased by a Lassen County Deputy Coroner.
CHP officers and sheriff’s deputies secured the scene and detectives from the sheriff’s office were called out to lead the possible homicide investigation, while CHP investigated the vehicle collision.
Based on the evidence collected at the scene and witness statements, the statement continued, it appeared the following events occurred after the collision:
“The suspect fled the crash scene through an area with trees, bushes and tall grass. The suspect reached a residence on Hicks Road where he armed himself with a beer bottle. The suspect entered the attached garage of the residence through an open roll-up garage door,” the statement alleged.
“The suspect then entered the living space of the house through a door from the garage and confronted the residents. The suspect held the beer bottle over his head and threatened to kill the family if they did not turn over their car keys. An adult female resident retrieved a set of keys and a handgun from another room. She gave the keys to the suspect, and the handgun to the adult male resident. The adult male resident told the suspect to stop and put his hands up, as well as other verbal commands,” the statement continued.
“The suspect did not comply, and fled the residence through the garage door. The adult male resident followed the suspect out of the residence and saw the suspect in the resident’s pickup truck. The suspect was trying to steal the resident’s vehicle. The suspect accelerated and drove toward the adult male resident. The adult male resident shot one round from a handgun at the suspect. The vehicle came to a stop after traveling a short distance. Officers arrived on scene a short time later,” the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office statement read.
The identity of the deceased suspect will not be released until positive identification is made. Washoe County Medical Examiner is performing a post-mortem examination.
The incident is still under investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Lassen County District Attorney.