Parks superintendent killed in Northern Calif park

AP News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2012 4:24 PM
Parks superintendent killed in Northern Calif park

Police said Tuesday they were questioning a suspect in the shooting death of a parks superintendent whose body was found in his bullet-riddled car in a Northern California park that adjoins the popular American River Parkway.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Ramos, a spokesman for the Rancho Cordova Police Department, said a 47-year-old former park employee was being questioned by homicide detectives and is expected to be booked for the murder of 59-year-old Steve Ebert.

"I think everybody has a good idea of what took place here," Ramos said.

Ebert was the superintendent of the Cordova Recreation and Parks District who oversaw maintenance of 38 parks.

Ramos said he could not confirm whether the suspect was among the 18 park district employees who were reported to be recently laid off.

The parks district offices were closed Tuesday to mourn the death of Ebert and officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

KTXL-TV in Sacramento reported that Rancho Cordova interim parks administrator Doug Critchfield confirmed that the district had recently laid off 18 employees.

"People are speculating, obviously, that that may speak to motive," Ramos said.

Ramos said the passenger side of Ebert's car was found riddled with bullets and that Ebert himself suffered several gunshot wounds to his upper body.

He said police found him slumped over the steering wheel with his foot on the brake while the car was still running.

Hagan Community Park abuts the 23-mile American River Parkway, which runs from Folsom Dam to Old Town Sacramento. The parkway includes the well-known Jedediah Smith Memorial Bicycle Trail, and draws some 5 million visitors each year.