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Calif. Officer Killed; Shot While Fueling Patrol Car


November 19, 2002
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Calif. Officer Killed; Shot While Fueling Patrol Car

Man Wanted for Questioning

Suzanne Herel, The San Francisco Chronicle

A 31-year-old Red Bluff police officer who grew up in Santa Clara County was shot in the head and killed early Tuesday while gassing up his patrol car.

Officer David Mobilio, a four-year veteran of the force, was found dead around 2 a.m. by fellow officers who went looking for him after he failed to respond to radio calls. Mobilio -- who had told dispatch he was stopping for gas around 1:30 a.m. -- was lying by the pump of an unmanned station with a single bullet wound to the head.

Chief Bob Petitt said in a press conference that Mobilio's gun had been found near his body in the ready position with the safety off, indicating he had drawn his weapon on someone. It was unclear whether it had been fired. Mobilio, who was raised in Saratoga, leaves behind his wife of six years, Linda Marie, and the couple's 19-month-old son. The family had been living in nearby Anderson while they built a home in Red Bluff.

Police have few clues in the shooting, but they want to question a man in his mid-20s who may have been driving a brown Oldsmobile in the area at the time of the shooting.

Red Bluff police said Mobilio had been shot between 1:30 and 2 a.m. as he fueled up at Warner's Card Lock Gas Station at 2155 Main St. No attendant was on duty at the time.

The shooting of a law enforcement officer in Red Bluff is almost unheard of.

Tehama County Undersheriff Dennis Garton said he had never heard of such an incident in his 22 years on the force.

The Red Bluff Police Department's Web site, which tracks crime through the year 2000, lists only four homicides since 1997. Two each occurred in 1998 and 2000.

The department, which prides itself on community policing, employs 26 officers. As many as 35 investigators, including officers from the California Highway Patrol, the Tehama County sheriff's office and the California Department of Justice, are working on the case.

According to his wedding announcement, published in the Saratoga News in 1996, Mobilio graduated from Saratoga High School in 1990. His parents, who live in Saratoga, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Mobilio's in-laws, reached by phone at their home in Chico, declined to comment on his death.

Mobilio attended West Valley and Butte junior colleges, according to the wedding announcement, and graduated from the police academy in 1995. He worked in the loss prevention department at Sears before being hired by the Red Bluff department in 1998.

His wife, the former Linda Marie Dias, graduated from California State University at Chico in 1995 and had obtained her teaching credential.

Situated about 130 miles north of Sacramento, Red Bluff was established in 1876 as the center for navigation for the Sacramento River. About 13,000 people live in the town, which calls itself the Victorian City on the River.

Mobilio, who also served as a D.A.R.E. officer, was one of three to patrol Area One, which includes the historic section of Main Street and City River Park. In addition to businesses, the area is home to a number of apartment complexes.

The two other officers who work Area One, including a K-9 cop, did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday night.

In keeping with their mission of getting the community involved in policing, each officer is featured on a trading card sponsored by local businesses. In his, Mobilio crouches beside his cruiser with his gun drawn.

The reverse side of the card notes that Mobilio "enjoys hunting, fishing, weightlifting and spending time with his wife and family."

Also on the card is a "personal tip." Mobilio's was "Be responsible. Think before you act."



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