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Friends and family of victim in Christmas shooting mourn loss

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BUTTE VALLEY, Calif. - The family and friends of the man who was shot and killed Christmas night are mourning the loss the day after.

Around 8 p.m. Monday, Butte County deputies responded to the Foothills Mobile Home Park in Butte Valley after reports of shots fired. Investigators said when they arrived, the man was lying in the street, already dead.

Deputies are calling this suspicious, which is why they brought in their Investigations Unit immediately. This is also why they said they are not yet releasing the name of the victim. The family and friends have also requested that it is withheld for now.

"This was the last thing that I ever expected. Not, not this," said Helen, a friend of the victim. 

In an otherwise quiet mobile home park, the tenants who knew the man who was shot and killed Christmas night spent much of the following day asking the same questions. 

"Was there someone stalking him? They had to have been watching him," said Helen. "It doesn't make sense."

Helen and Melody Devlin brought flowers to mark the place their neighbor's life was taken. They said he was good man with a big heart.

"He was very respectful, he was a nice guy," explained Devlin. "He always said hi every time he saw you, he would go out of his way to help my boyfriend, Richard."

Helen was one of the last people to see the man before he was shot and killed. She said he was walking down B Street near her home, then turned right on Main Street.

"I said hi and he said hi and I told him Merry Christmas and he walked off and then 10 minutes later is when the gunshots went off," Helen said. "So he must've left my street, came down this way and then.. Basically, I think he was ambushed."

Investigators said the man made it to D Street before being shot multiple times. At this point, they said they don't know why, but do think the suspect knew the victim personally. The Sheriff's Office also added that it was a sad day for everyone involved.

"The holidays are a special time for everybody and obviously any time we get a report of something like this on a holiday it's devastating for everybody involved," said Miranda Bowersox with the Butte County Sheriff's Office. "We're trying to get to the bottom of it as soon as we can. No motive has been established at this time and a suspect has not been identified."

"He didn't deserve this at all, he was a good guy," said Helen. "No one deserves that to happen to them. Especially on Christmas."

Christmas dinner, interrupted by gunshots echoing through the park. It brought out many curious neighbors to see what had happened, and even now that the commotion is gone, a new air of caution still lingers.

"I [used to] feel totally safe and comfortable with my kids walking around here," said Helen. "But now, I don't know."

Investigators are asking anyone with information about this homicide to contact them at 530-538-7671.

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