RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Detectives on Tuesday arrested a man accused of shooting and killing a Cordova Recreation and Park District superintendent on Monday morning, and CBS13 learned the two men had a rocky relationship when they worked together.
The suspect, Dupree Barber, is a 47-year-old former employee of the parks district. He was arrested for the murder of Steven Ebert, his former supervisor at the parks district, according to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jason Ramos.
CBS13 discovered Tuesday night that Barber, who is black, filed a lawsuit in 2009 in Sacramento County Superior Court against the district and specifically named Ebert, who was white, claiming racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The lawsuit also said the two nearly came to blows during a meeting in September 2008. The case was dismissed in December 2010.
Barber reportedly approached a West Sacramento police officer on Tuesday and said “I think I’m wanted.” The sheriff’s department was already looking for him because his name came up from other employees and his vehicle was found in close proximity to the murder scene at Hagan Community Park, Ramos said.
When detectives arrived in West Sacramento, Barber agreed to go with them back to the sheriff’s department for questioning and was subsequently arrested. Barber is being held in the county jail without bail. He’s scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
“It blows me away,” said Al Sutherlin, a resident at the Rancho Cordova apartment complex where Barber lives. “He was a real quiet guy. No indication that he would be a violent type at all.”A current park employee was headed to work at around 6 a.m. Monday when he drove past an SUV with its engine running and lights on near Hagan Community Park at Chase Drive.
The employee found Ebert, 59, slumped back in his seat. Ebert’s foot was on the brake and the vehicle was still in gear. The employee also noticed there were multiple bullet holes in the driver’s side of the vehicle.
“We’re all shocked and this a great tragedy for the Rancho Cordova community as well as Sacramento county and the region,” interim parks administrator Doug Critchfield said.
Ebert was the superintendent of the district and he oversaw maintenance of 38 parks.
Ramos said in press release Tuesday afternoon that Barber was among the 18 park district employees who were laid off two weeks ago to close an $800,000 budget deficit. Detectives believe his loss of employment was the motive for killing Ebert.
The park district office was closed Tuesday to mourn the death of Ebert.