Lincoln Police Department investigates fatal shooting of woman found in garage
Renee Sue O’Neal, the Lincoln woman found shot to death Wednesday morning in her garage, had filed a restraining order against the man now suspected of killing her, Lincoln police Chief Doug Lee said Thursday.
Jerrod Devery Hill, 31, of El Dorado Hills, also pleaded no contest in April to a felony stalking charge filed against him in January, Sacramento Superior Court records show.
Hill apparently shot himself to death as officers pursued him Wednesday on Interstate 80 near Truckee, police said. Hill was found in his car after officers used spike strips to try to stop him from fleeing.
Hill and O’Neal, 35, were identified Thursday by coroner’s offices in Nevada and Placer counties.
Lee said O’Neal was found in a vehicle in the garage of a home in the 2400 block of Lincoln Airpark Drive after a witness called to report hearing possible gunshots and seeing a man fleeing from the home about 8:20 a.m. Wednesday. The man left in what was described to police as a white Hyundai.
Public records show O’Neal lived in the home where her body was found.
Months before the shooting, Sacramento Superior Court records show four felony charges were filed against Hill in Sacramento. Two of those charges were for alleged burglary, one for stalking and the last for petty theft. A no contest plea for the felony stalking charge was entered in April. Court documents indicate a hearing to dismiss the other charges in the case was held early Thursday.
Lee said the witness who made the call Wednesday morning told police he recognized the man who fled the home as Hill. O’Neal had a restraining order against Hill, but Lee said he did not know when or where it was granted, and whether it stemmed from a previous romantic relationship or friendship between the two.
The criminal complaint filed in the Sacramento County court case alleges Hill entered a residence, where someone referred to as Renee Doe and another woman lived, with the intent of stealing belongings on July 19 and July 20 of last year, and again on Oct. 3.
The files also say Hill repeatedly harassed Renee Doe during that time, making credible threats that would cause her to have a reasonable fear for her safety and the safety of her family.
Hill was listed as a licensed chiropractor on the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners website. Court documents for the felony stalking case include a move by prosecutors to bar Hill from using his chiropractic license, saying, “A licensed chiropractor holds a position of trust with his employer and consumers. Here, Defendant has shown, by his act of burglary, stalking, and theft against his previous girlfriend, that continuing to allow him access to patients in this position of trust is contrary to the best interests of the public.”
Rachell Walker, a neighbor living in the newly developed neighborhood near the city’s airport, said O’Neal moved to the area a few months before the shooting and was a mother to two elementary-aged twin boys.
“She just seemed friendly,” Walker said. “I think everybody’s kind of shocked.”
A Facebook page under O’Neal’s name, posted hours after the shooting, was described as “a grassroots campaign to change privacy laws for victims of Domestic Violence in honor of Renee O’Neal and the countless women who were killed before her.”
Efforts to reach O’Neal’s family and friends were not successful Thursday. A message from the Facebook page published under O’Neal’s name declined an interview request from a Sacramento Bee reporter Thursday.
“Her family has requested privacy and for us not to speak to the press at this time,” the message said. “As you can see we are all trying to make sense out (of) the impossible.”
The Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ website listed Hill as working at Back to Health Chiropractic, Simms Family Care, in El Dorado Hills. The chiropractic facility did not immediately return a call for information Thursday, though a cached version of the chiropractic office’s website says Hill studied at the Southern California University of Health Sciences. Hill graduated in April 2012 and was his class’s valedictorian. He went on to earn a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, according to the website.
Hill’s chiropractic license expired at the end of March and a disciplinary action dated April 3 was listed under his name, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ website showed. Documents filed under the disciplinary action portion of Hill’s profile linked to the Sacramento Superior Court case files submitted to bar the 31-year-old from using his license.
The Bee’s Darrell Smith contributed to this report.