RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Deborah Walker said her nephew Christopher Walker, the suspect who died in a Rancho Cordova shootout that killed a woman and injured a sheriff’s deputy, had plenty of struggles with his own mental health and with violence.
Walker said she still doesn’t know what triggered him to shoot someone and then himself at a mobile home on Saturday night.
“I just saw a side of Christopher that I knew needed help,” she said.
Walker said she was working on getting her nephew counseling when his phone went silent on Saturday.
“His phone just kept going back and forth to voicemail,” she said.
Christopher Walker is accused of shooting and killing Betty Winn Spirk, 58, who his own grandmother had been living with in recent weeks.
He then engaged in a shootout with law enforcement, and shot Deputy Eric Schmidt in the leg, hitting a major artery. Walker was shot by authorities and was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“I did have the opportunity to get to know his heart. He is not this person that murdered somebody. I’m still very shocked at that,” Deborah Walker said.
Neighbors said Winn Spirk had opened her home to Christopher Walker’s grandmother, and he wasn’t supposed to be there. The Sacramento County Sheriffs Department said Christopher Walker’s grandmother had a restraining order against him, but his aunt didn’t know why.
Neighbors said Chris seemed friendly when they’d see him.
“He always seemed calm, but I don’t know, Saturday night something happened,” said neighbor Diane. “I think it’s more wrong place and wrong time and something just set Chris off, I guess.”
Neighbors also said that Winn Spirk did have a criminal history. Sacramento County court records show that in 2019 she faced felony charges for drugs, vandalism and evading a peace officer.
“Betty had her ways, but she was nice, but she also had her ways and always getting involved with the wrong people,” Diane said.
Deputy Schmidt suffered critical injuries in the shooting but was released home from the UC Davis on Thursday.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said it will provide a video debrief of the incident this week.