Off-duty security officer shot to death www.privateofficer.com
They knew him simply as Ross.
He was Ross the grandfather, father and husband. Or Ross, the quick-witted security guard whom store owners and employees at the Clayton Valley Shopping Center came to rely on for comic relief during their workdays.
“I always said he should have been a comedian,” his wife Letris Ross said laughingly Friday. “He was not afraid of making a (fool) of himself.”
So when word began spreading about his death April 1, there was disbelief that someone like him could die in a flurry of gunfire.
Ross, 48, was shot to death in front of his apartment on Clayton Road, about a mile from the shopping center. His 24-year-old stepdaughter’s boyfriend, Claude Lee Mitchell, 25, is suspected in the slaying, police said. Mitchell was arrested outside of Stockton on Friday afternoon after a two-hour search.
Mitchell has a 19-month-old son with Ross’ stepdaughter, who is pregnant with their second child. They lived with Ross and his wife.
Letris Ross said her husband had been pushing Mitchell to get a job and pay his fair share of the rent. He wanted Mitchell to become a provider the way that Ross did when he raised her four children as his own, she said.
The argument continued the afternoon of April 1, when Ross followed Mitchell down an outside stairwell. Unexpectedly, Mitchell pulled out a handgun and fired a shot into Ross’ abdomen, Letris Ross said. She then heard Mitchell cursing loudly as he fired several more shots.
“He unloaded the clip on him,” Letris Ross said, adding that neither she nor her husband knew Mitchell owned a gun. “It was senseless and cruel.”
Mitchell fled, and his car was found abandoned that night in Pittsburg.
The Los Angeles-born Ross worked as security guard his entire adult life, his wife said. He enjoyed the camaraderie and protecting people, but never had ambitions for a police job.
“He said this is what he was put on Earth to do,” she said.
At the shopping center, where he worked for four years, Ross routinely checked in on businesses, store employees said. And while he was there, he’d try to lighten the mood with a wisecrack or gush about his affinity for the Oakland Raiders.
“He’d joke around and talk with us for a while,” said Linda Pineda, a teller at Travis Credit Union in the shopping center. “And he was always talking about the Raiders.”
Anyone with information about the slaying can contact Concord police at 925-671-3333, the department’s anonymous tip line at 925-603-5836, or Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.