A 24-year-old sheriff's deputy in Alameda County was the subject of a brief manhunt on Wednesday before turning himself in to his own bosses and coworkers for a double homicide.
The killing happened late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, and Dublin police were called to the scene at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday. Arriving officers found two people shot dead "execution-style" in a home at 3112 Colebrook Lane, in East Dublin.
The suspect was quickly identified, apparently by a witness in the home, as 24-year-old Devin Williams Jr., who fled the scene in a vehicle.
The two victims, as KTVU reports, have been identified as 57-year-old Benison Tran and 42-year-old Maria Tran, and investigators say that this was not a random crime and Williams knew the couple, who have been married for around 20 years. No motive has been discussed by police, but KTVU reports via sources that it may have been a love triangle, and that Williams may have been having an affair with Ms. Tran.
Williams remained at large for about nine hours, but after Dublin police put out a bulletin around 10 a.m. Wednesday, Williams soon called in to say he wanted to turn himself in. At that time, he driven to Fresno County, and was calling from the Coalinga area, where he was taken into custody by CHP officers, as the Chronicle reports.
Dublin contracts with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office for police services, so the officers and the chief of police handling the case are also coworkers of the suspect. As KPIX reports, Dublin's chief of police and a commander in the sheriff's office, Garrett Holmes, became choked up at a Wednesday press conference after he reportedly spent 45 minutes on the phone with Williams, encouraging him to surrender.
"It's a great loss for our community and it's even more disheartening to find out it was one of our own, actually, who was the trigger person behind this tragic incident," Holmes said.
Department spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly explained Holmes's emotional state this way: "Chief Holmes personally talked the suspect into surrender and spent about 45 minutes on the phone with him to get him to surrender peacefully. This has been a very difficult day for him and for our department."
BREAKING: @ACSOSheriffs Deputy Devin Williams Jr. wanted in shooting deaths of male & female victims on Colebrook Lane, per @DublinCAPolice, adding he lives in Stockton & may be driving this 2007 VW Jetta w/plate 6MEA916 or 2015 Hyundai 9BMB449 pic.twitter.com/SM7Gzy6yNv— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) September 7, 2022
Williams reportedly did not work as a patrol officer, but worked in the county's jails, including Santa Rita Jail where he's now being held. Williams apparently did an overtime shift at the jail not long before the shooting occurred, on Tuesday night, after working at a county courthouse that day.
Where the killings occurred is a quiet subdivision in East Dublin called Dublin Ranch that was only built two decades ago, as the Chron reports. A neighborhood teen told the paper, "This is the first time anything like this has happened around here. This is crazy."
The Trans immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2004, as a relative told the Chronicle. Maria Tran worked as a nurse, and cousin Diem Thuy Le told KTVU, "She was kind-hearted, loving" and "she always went above and beyond as a frontline worker during the COVID pandemic."
Police continue searching for Williams's duty-issued firearm, which he reportedly may have tossed out of his car near the Altamont Pass.
Williams was a resident of Stockton who previously worked for the Stockton Police Department from January 2020 to January 2021. Per KTVU, Sgt. Kelly said that Williams had not passed the one-year probationary period for hiring in the Stockton Police Department, which was the reason for his departure.
Williams's connection to Trans' home in Dublin was apparently established both through witnesses at the scene and "prior police contacts" at the residence.
A neighbor who heard screaming after four shots were fired, told KPIX that a relative in the home, possibly the mother of one of the victims who was visiting from out of town, screamed at the fleeing intruder "What are you doing?" as he ran out of the house.
The Trans had a child who was also reportedly home at the time as well.
Sgt. Kelly said that Williams had a completely clean record and showed no red flags on the job.
"[Williams] grew up in a a very affluent home, well loved, graduated from college with honors," Kelly said, per KPIX. "He was really a remarkable a remarkable young person."
Kelly added, speaking to the media, "This is a very bizarre chain of events that unfolded. And I think as the story unfolds, you guys will understand that better."
Photo of the home at 3112 Colebrook Lane where the crime occurred via Google Street View