The two friends were hiking along the picturesque Iron Canyon
Trail in the small city of Red Bluff around noon on Friday when a
middle-aged white man pointed a gun at them and demanded their cash
and other belongings, the Tehama County Sheriff's Department said.
After collecting the items, the man shot both hikers and fled,
investigators said. They were found by another hiker about three
One of the men, Francis Patrick Gregory, died from gunshot wounds
before the police arrived. He was visiting from Massachusetts, where
he owned a computer store in Martha's Vineyard.
His friend, whose name has not been released due to safety concerns,
lived about an hour from the trailhead and was in critical condition
Sheriff's department spokeswoman Lieutenant Yvette Borden said
investigators were stymied until they released a sketch of the
suspected shooter on Wednesday, and tips started pouring in.
The sketch showed a man wearing a baseball cap over short, dark hair
with a mustache and a beard. He wore dark denim pants and a dark
t-shirt over his thin, six-foot-tall frame, and detectives estimated
that he is about 35-40 years old.
Community members have responded to the sketch by sending in a flood
of new leads, Borden said.
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"We've received everything from 'He's everyone I've seen on the
sidewalk,' to more substantial leads," she said.
According to detectives, the crime appears to be random and
opportunistic. Borden noted that it was the first time a violent
crime such as this has occurred in the area, where the usual
pedestrian traffic comes from outdoor enthusiasts who are attracted
to the fairly strenuous, rocky terrain.
(Editing by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Ken Wills)
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