LIVE OAK (CBS13) — A Gridley man is in police custody tonight for charges unrelated to this case. But a shotgun was found near his car after a police chase, officers say.

This comes after a neighbor wonders why anyone would want to kill the man who he called a ‘hard worker.’

Family members were overcome with emotion as they arrived at the Live Oak walnut orchard where the deadly shooting occurred on Saturday.

“He’s mowing the weeds. We got him mowing the weeds and I have no idea what happened,” said someone who knew the victim. “He was just a worker, a good dude,” he said.

Around 8:30 a.m. deputies got a call about a man down in a walnut orchard, reportedly shot in the head. A witness reported seeing a blue car in the area but wasn’t sure it was involved.

Another deputy spotted a car matching that description and tried to make a felony traffic stop.

But the driver reportedly took off, leading deputies on a chase around the Sutter Buttes. They finally caught up with him, they say, when he lost control and crashed in a field several miles away.

“A short foot pursuit followed and the subject fought the officer and he was taken into custody and a shotgun was found near the vehicle,” said Scott Smallwood, Sutter County Under Sheriff.

Authorities say the driver of that car, Jesus Perez from Gridley, was booked at the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department for charges unrelated to the homicide investigation: Evading police and felon in possession of a firearm.

“This has gotta’ change. You can’t have these innocent people getting killed for no reason, it’s disgusting,” said the man who knew the victim.

The Department of Justice has been called out to assist with this homicide investigation, which is standard according to the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department since it is a smaller department.

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