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
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
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
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."