Alameda County

Investigators Search For Clues After Halloween Mask-Wearing Suspects Attack, Rob Orinda Couple

Investigators will start combing through surveillance video looking for two suspects in Halloween masks who attacked and robbed an Orinda school board member and her husband on Monday night.

Orinda Unified School District board vice president Carol Brown was shot during the robbery and her husband, Tom Spalding, was pistol-whipped, police said.

Brown was recovering at a hospital and making phone calls on Tuesday morning and is expected to recover, according to Orinda police Chief Mark Nagel.

School board president Julie Rossiter and superintendent Carolyn Seaton released a joint statement about the robbery on Tuesday, saying they were shocked to find out about the assault.

"We are deeply relieved and grateful to know the injuries are not life threatening, and that Carol is receiving excellent care," they wrote. "It's hard to believe this violent act took place in our peaceful community."

The couple had just arrived at their home in the first block of Claremont Avenue in the hills just after 9 p.m. after picking up some groceries at a nearby Safeway, Nagel said.

They were unloading their groceries when they were approached by two male, masked suspects, who asked for Spalding's wallet and then pistol-whipped him.

Spalding fled to the front door of the home to get inside and call 911. As he got to the porch he heard gunshots.

The suspects ran from the area with the victims' property. Brown was shot twice and taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.

Orinda police searched the area with dogs and a helicopter but were unable to find any sign of the suspects. Brown's phone was later discovered in Alameda County, but Nagel declined to provide a more specific location, citing the ongoing investigation.

He was unable to provide a more detailed description of the suspects Thursday, but said that investigators were getting a hold of surveillance footage from various locations and are hoping to find some clues.

One possibility police are looking into is that the suspects followed the victims home from the Safeway, but Nagel said he wasn't ruling anything out, including that the suspects knew the victims and targeted them.

Anyone with any information about the crime has been asked to contact the Orinda Police Department at (925) 254-6820.

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