Crime - Sacto 911

Man in custody identified as person of interest in fatal shooting of couple in Butte County

A Butte County man arrested Tuesday on suspicion of firearms and drug offenses is considered a person of interest in the case of a couple found shot to death in their vehicle in the Berry Creek area, northeast of Oroville, last month.

Peter “Mike” Kroencke, 59, and his wife, Olga Kroencke, 56, were identified by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office as the victims of the homicide. According to public records, they lived in Plumas County.

On Dec. 19, the couple were on their way to visit their son in the Berry Creek area when they were shot to death, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Deputies discovered the Kroenckes’ dead in their vehicle on Galen Ridge Road just before 2 p.m. Dec. 20, after family members reported that they had not arrived at their planned destination.

A subsequent investigation led to the service of a search warrant Dec. 29 at 310 Galen Ridge Road. Service of the warrant by Butte County sheriff’s and Chico Police Department SWAT officers resulted in the seizure of an explosive device and firearms, sheriff’s officials said. The Butte County Multiagency Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team responded to analyze the explosive device.

The residents, GD Hendrix, 44, and his mother, Lotta Hendrix, 67, were not present during the search and arrest warrants were issued for both, accusing them of possession of a destructive device.

About 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s detectives responded to the Canyon Creek Store, 9607 Oro Quincy Highway, after receiving information the GD Hendrix was in the store. Believing the man likely was armed, detectives waited for him to come out of the store before placing him under arrest. When deputies announced their presence, GD Hendrix yelled back at them and initially raised his hands, but then lowered them to his waist, reaching under his jacket, sheriff’s officials said. Deputies forced him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs.

At the time of his arrest, GD Hendrix had an AK-47-style semiautomatic assault rifle loaded with a 30-round magazine strapped to his back, a loaded .22 caliber revolver on his waist and a loaded .223 caliber hunting pistol draped over his right arm, sheriff’s officials said. He also had a concealed dagger and brass knuckles around his neck, they said.

GD Hendrix was booked into the Butte County Jail in Oroville on suspicion of multiple firearms offenses, including possession of an assault rifle, possession of methamphetamine and being armed in the commission of a felony. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Lotta Hendrix was arrested at a separate location in Berry Creek about 11 p.m. Tuesday and booked on suspicion of possession of an explosive device. Her bail is set at $500,000.

At this point, only GD Hendrix is considered a person of interest in the Kroencke deaths, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Miranda Bowersox.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call Detective Matt Rackley at (530) 538-7671.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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