Suspect in Clovis double-murder may have been mentally ill
A Clovis man who gunned down his mother and a neighbor before he was fatally shot by police early today reportedly was mentally ill.
Neighbors and a family member identified the shooting suspect as Christopher Machado, 40. He died at Community Regional Medical Center.
His mother, Edith Machado, 73, was shot in their home at 221 Eighth St. near downtown Clovis, neighbors said. She died at the scene, police said.
After shooting his mother, Machado fatally shot a neighbor who was inside the security door of his own home, police said. Another neighbor identified the shooting victim as Vernon Eugene Lindsay, 60.
Clovis police were called at 12:30 a.m. to several reports of up to six shots heard. Police arrived at 12:31 a.m. and found Machado armed with a shotgun.
When he did not follow orders by police to put down the gun, he was shot at 12:40 a.m., Clovis police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee said.
A 38-year-old woman who is one of Lindsay’s neighbors but didn’t want to be identified by name said she heard a knock on her door before police arrived. She said she refused to open her door and then heard police yelling for the suspect “to put the gun down” before shots rang out.
Machado was in jail as recently as last Saturday after he was cited on suspicion of elder abuse and being drunk in public, according to Fresno County Jail records.
Because they were misdemeanor charges, he was released from the jail Sunday, jail records show.
He was previously arrested by Clovis police in 2008, taken to county jail for public intoxication, Fresno County Jail Lt. John Copher said.
During his rampage, Machado went to the nearby Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church’s nunnery and banged on the door. Nobody answered. He then shot at a church building on Eighth Street, police said.
Police said Machado went into a church sanctuary on Eighth Street and shot into a wall. But church officials reached today said he never went inside a church building and they found no damage indoors.
Church officials called police at 2:30 a.m., and police were unsure when the church shooting occurred in connection with the other shootings.
The neighbor said she understood that Machado suffered from mental illness, and he seemed to act strangely Thursday when she saw him.
“He had a mental condition and I don’t think he ever did anything about it,” she said. “It was always an overlooked situation.”
The neighbor said she had recently seen Machado looking drunk, and he also had seizures that she thought were linked to epilepsy.
A woman who said she was Machado’s sister and also asked not to be named did not deny that her brother had a mental illness, but she would not offer details.
“There is so much we don’t know and we are dealing with the big question of how this could happen to a beautiful son and a beautiful mother,” she said.
She would not say how many children were in the family.
“My brother loved his mother and my mother loved her son,” she said. “Whatever the source is of this tragedy, we can’t speculate on. It certainly wasn’t in anything that had to do with how much they loved each other.”
The neighbor who heard the police shooting unfold described Lindsay as “one of the nicest guys in the world.”
Lindsay lived with and cared for his elderly mother in his home, friends said.
The neighbor said Lindsay had opened his front door to peer through his security door and see what was happening, before he was shot.
She said she was still frightened this afternoon by the morning events, knowing that Machado shot her friend and apparently knocked on her door before police arrived.
“This is like the worst thing I have ever been through in my life,” she said.