RIO LINDA, Calif. (CBS13) – Stunned family members and friends held a vigil Monday at the site of the place that a 20-year-old man was killed Sunday morning.
David Valdez was chased down and killed just before 4:30 a.m. on March 20 by 29-year-old Steven Zinda, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Zinda mistakenly believed that Valdez was involved in the burglary of his home a short time earlier, investigators said.
David Valdez’s vehicle veered off 2nd Street and became stuck in the mud just before 4:30 a.m., just as 29-year-old Steven Zinda ran out of his home to search for the suspect that had apparently just burglarized his home, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Believing that Valdez was the suspect, Zinda told investigators he chased the younger man into a field a quarter-mile away and fatally wounded him. Valdez’s family said the victim was killed with an axe.
Deputies say they do not believe Valdez was involved in the burglary.
Family members gathered at the field where Valdez was killed, trying to come to grips with the tragic case of apparent mistaken identity.
“I want [Zinda] to know how much he’s hurting this family,” said Jessica Segoviano, Valdez’s sister. “He should have called the cops. He shouldn’t have hit him with an axe. I mean, what’s wrong with him?”
Valdez’s mother, Maria Nunez, said she hasn’t left the house since learning her son had been killed and is still struggling to understand why Zinda went after her son.
“He needs to know how much he’s broken my heart,” she said.
Zinda has been charged with murder and is being held without bail.