ALAMEDA, Calif. — A sheriff’s deputy was arrested Wednesday after fatally shooting a married couple, authorities said, sparking a manhunt in suburban Northern California and a nearly hour-long phone conversation which ended in his surrender, officials said.
Devin Williams Jr., 24, is accused of shooting the woman, 42, and her husband, 58, with his service weapon inside their home early Wednesday in Dublin, about 25 miles north. southeast of Oakland, Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Ray Kelly told reporters.
Williams was off duty at the time.
Williams, who had worked in the courthouse division of the sheriff’s office for a year, had not yet been booked when authorities announced his surrender, Kelly said.
“Our agency is in shock,” Kelly said. “It’s not something we deal with. It’s not our business. We had no idea it could happen.”
Kelly added that “some big things” have happened in Williams’ life in recent months that appear to have caused an “emotional crisis”.
“Many of these events have remained unknown and undisclosed,” Kelly said.
Kelly said there was a “connectivity” between Williams and the couple, which has not been publicly identified. He did not provide additional details.
Williams worked a shift at the courthouse on Tuesday, as well as an additional shift at a county jail until 11 p.m., Kelly said. It was unclear when or how Williams would have entered the Dublin home, he said.
Six people were in the house when gunshots were reported to authorities around 12:45 a.m., Kelly said. Among them was an out-of-town relative who became a key eyewitness to the shooting, Kelly said.
The couple were pronounced dead at the scene, the Dublin Police Department said in a press release. No one else was hurt.
Williams fled in a Volkswagen, Kelly said. Highway patrol officers arrested him about 160 miles away near the town of Coalinga, minutes before authorities announced his surrender at an 11:30 a.m. news conference, Kelly said.
Williams turned himself in after a 45-minute phone conversation with Dublin Police Chief Garrett Holmes, who used crisis intervention techniques to peacefully resolve the incident, Kelly said.
Before starting in the sheriff’s office, Williams worked in the state’s Central Valley for the Stockton Police Department. A department spokesman, Joe Silva, said he was employed for one year, from Jan. 16, 2020, to Jan. 19, 2021.
Silva declined to discuss Williams’ “severance” from the department, saying it was a personnel issue.
Kelly said the sheriff’s office did a thorough background check before hiring Williams and found they were “beyond blame.”
In the year since Williams was hired, there have been no reports of disciplinary or other issues, Kelly said, adding that he’s done a “really good job.”
He “really was a remarkable youngster,” Kelly said. “How we got here today – that will be part of our investigation and something we will look into as a law enforcement profession.”
It was not immediately clear whether Williams had an attorney to speak on his behalf.