SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The family of a man shot and killed in a Sacramento light-rail train says he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Lynnsey Braun faced a judge for the first time in the shooting death of Eric McCaster on Monday.
McCaster’s family says he was trying to get home that night, as he so often did, to take care of his mom.
Police say Braun shot him with a .357 Magnum on board a light-rail train on Thursday night in Downtown Sacramento. They say it appears the two were strangers.
Family of Brandon Littlejohn, McCaster’s nephew, left the courthouse in tears after facing the accused killer for the first time.
“It was just very sad, you know,” he said. “It’s still so hard. Everything’s so shocking.”
Littlejohn says his uncle was a big guy with an even bigger heart. He was a one-time bodybuilder and amateur wrestler who had a stint as a volunteer firefighter.
In recent years, McCaster became the primary caretaker of his sick mother.
“It’s a big void in the community now that he’s not around,” he said.
The judge wouldn’t allow cameras to show Braun’s face in court at the request of the defense. A source confirms that Braun identifies as a transgender woman, though police don’t believe gender or bias factored into the motive.
Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert says that won’t play a role in their case, either.
“We never look at that stuff, we look at the conduct,” said Schubert, “and that’s what we’re looking at in this case, is the conduct she committed on Jan. 23.”
Family members say McCaster wasn’t looking for trouble on the train that night, and that he was simply running errands for his mom.
Interview requests with Braun were denied and the suspect is due back in court on Monday.