A 27-year-old woman was shot and killed at an Antioch Quik Stop on Monday, and a male employee of the same age was shot too, and taken to the hospital, police said.
An argument between two customers — the slain woman and the alleged shooter — turned violent around 7:11 a.m. at the convenience store at 2760 West Tregallas Road, police said.
Officers took Thomas John Williams Jr., 34, of Antioch, into custody outside the police department soon after he gunned down Cynthia Flores-Crose, also of Antioch.
The pair had a "heated exchange" outside the store, and Williams followed Flores-Crose into the Quik Stop and shot her, police said
The employee's father, Tom Payne, said it was his son who was shot in the forearm, and taken to an area hospital. He lives nearby and watched his 27-year-old child, Thomas Payne Jr., get wheeled off in a gurney.
"He had a lot of blood on his hands and it wasn't his," Payne said.
Payne Jr.'s neighbor Vicki Briggs said the store clerk tried to step in and help when the argument spun out of control
"He's just that kind of guy," she said. "He's such a great guy, he tried to de-escalate the situation and ended up getting hurt. Thank God he didn't get seriously hurt."
Briggs added that it is "mind blowing" that Payne Jr. didn't suffer a mortal wound, adding, "I'm glad he's OK. It could have been worse."
Witness Valerie Hernandez, who said she knows Payne Jr., painted a similar picture of an "outstanding young man." She said he is the type of young man who "always wants to be there for people. That's totally in his nature, to step in."
Payne Jr.'s father said he was grateful his son survived, but was shaken because Monday marked the second time the clerk's come face-to-face with a gun since he started working at the Quik Stop two years ago.
"I don't think he should be going back to work there ... I mean twice within a year," he said.
Briggs expressed disappointment at the sorry state of affairs in a town she calls home.
"It's absolutely crazy — this town has really gone downhill," she said. "I've lived here all my life, born and raised here ... We can't believe what goes on here."
Williams faces charges, including murder and attempted murder, and is being held at the Martinez Detention Facility.