Neighborhood Watch Enthusiast ‘Was Shot Dead by Two Burglars after She Started Recording Their Crimes on Her Cell Phone’
James Nye, Daily Mail (London), April 24, 2014
Two men were arrested on Thursday for the murder of an East Oakland woman known locally as the beloved ‘Pet Nanny’ after she filmed them during an alleged armed robbery.
Police charged Mario Floyd, 21, and Stephen Lee, 22, with the killing of Judy Salamon, 66, after she followed the two men in her car on July 24.
The two men allegedly fired shots at true-crime enthusiast Salamon, after a heated argument over her cellphone and then made their getaway, leaving the dog-lover fatally wounded.
Sgt. Mike Gantt of Oakland police said that an officer on the case made a significant breakthrough with a witness to the shooting, which in turn led him to identifying the two suspects.
Lee is currently already serving time at San Quentin State prison on unrelated gun charge and Floyd was convicted eight days prior to Salamon’s shooting for carrying a loaded firearm.
The two men are well known to police said Sgt. Gantt and both belonged to a local gang he said.
Sgt. Gantt said that Salamon, who had advocated her neighborhood hiring a private security firm only days before the shooting, was a ‘brave lady.’
However, he said that she should have phoned 911 and not followed the two men after witnessing the alleged robbery.
Salamon was driving near to her home in the Maxwell Park neighborhood when she allegedly saw the two suspects and then began to record them on her phone.
She then pursued them after they fled the robbery scene, causing her killers to confront her.
During the confrontation, Floyd threw a trash can at Salamon’s car, while Lee fired the fatal shots.
When asked if people should act as vigilante’s in their neighborhoods, Sgt. Gantt said he wants the public to ‘be a good witness’.
‘We want you to be vigilant, but we don’t want you to be a vigilante,’ he said.
‘That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to protect the citizens of Oakland. If you witness a crime, please call 911. We don’t want you to follow behind these suspects, because anything may happen to you.’
Gantt said Salamon ‘was a brave lady. I just think that she should have maybe called 911 in this situation.’
Police would not say if her phone, or any video evidence stored on it, was recovered.
Alameda County prosecutors have charged both men with murder and the special circumstance of killing in the course of a robbery, making them eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The brutal killing stunned the residents of Maxwell park, who had known Salamon for 20 years.
Her neighbors praised her love of animals and said that she had begun working on a neighborhood watch to make her area safer.
Her Facebook page was filled with photos of dogs she said she had owned or fostered.
Following her death, 300 residents of Maxwell Park hired a private firm to patrol the middle-class neighborhood where she lived.
‘We’re gratified of course that there’s arrests, but ultimately we’re all still very saddened,’ said Jose Dorado, chairman of Maxwell Park’s neighborhood council said to the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, ‘not by just her death but by the way she died.’