SACRAMENTO, CA – A state prison correctional officer dressed in uniform was gunned down as he left his Sacramento home Wednesday morning, say police. Detectives say they don’t know if the killing was a targeted hit related to the officer’s job.
The victim has been identified as Steve Lo, 39. Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Matt Young says it appeared Lo was standing by or in the garage of his home on the 8400 block of Tambor Way in the north Laguna area just before 5 a.m. when he was shot.
Lo, who worked at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, was leaving for his shift that started at 6 a.m., according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDRC) officials.
“All of our officers accept the risk of working in a prison, of knowing that on any shift, on any given day, there could be violence they have to respond to,” said Terry Thornton of CDCR. “So to have something like this to happen in front of his own home, it’s really hard for people to just get their minds around that.”
When officers arrived, Young said Lo was lying in the garage. Emergency personnel transported him to an area hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Police won’t say how many times Lo was shot or where he was hit. It was his wife who found him lying in the garage and called police, Young said.
According to CDCR, Lo had been a correctional officer for three years.
Thornton said Lo worked different assignments and different shifts at Vacaville. The victim was well-liked, said Thornton, and his co-workers were devastated to learn of his death.
Lo was married and had five children.
Later on Wednesday, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the killer or killers.
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible loss,” said CCPOA President Mike Jimenez. “We don’t know that this murder is related to his work as a correctional officer but we take the killing of any peace officer very, very seriously.”
Young says the Sacramento Police Department and the CDR are investigating the murder.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for the reward. Crime alert has also posted a reward of $1,000.