San Francisco

Fremont Man Shot Mom, Cut Out Her Heart: Police

Grisly details have emerged in the case of Omar Malik Pettigen, the 31-year-old Fremont resident suspected of killing his mother in her apartment.

According to a court affidavit by Fremont police Detective Craig Gaches, Pettigen told detectives he assaulted his mother with a tomahawk axe, shot her, stabbed her chest and used a serrated blade knife to cut it open.

Once her chest was cut open, he grabbed her heart with his hand and picked it up and then put it back on her.

He then walked out of the apartment and rented a room at the Fremont Hotel where he stayed for a short time. Pettigen then took BART to San Francisco and rented a room at the Omni Hotel. He even stopped by a friend’s workplace to say hello.

Pettigen told officers he killed his mother because she was killing herself with the oxycodone she had become addicted to due to problems with her hip and knees. He told officers his mother had become crazy and had pointed a gun at him while sitting on her bed, according to court documents.

“I asked how he felt about his actions and he said ‘good,’” Gaches said in the affidavit. “During the interview, Omar did not show any signs of remorse by crying or being upset in any way.”

The Fremont Unified School District has identified Pettigen’s mother as 64-year-old Nailah Pettigen, a retired teacher who taught special education at American High School in Fremont. Pettigen retired in 2013.

Officers who were conducting a welfare check on Nailah Pettigen found her disemboweled in her apartment in the 3900 block of Monroe Avenue around 11 a.m. on Sept 29.

Deputies investigating the scene of the crime believe Nailah Pettigen suffered a gunshot wound to her head and upper torso.

Pettigen was arrested in Kensington in unincorporated Contra Costa County at about 6 a.m. Sunday after police received a call about a suspicious person with a duffel bag on the porch of a home on Lake Drive. Officers found him walking along the road and detained him, police said.

He is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and was arraigned in court Tuesday.

Pettigen told officers that he has traveled to Morocco before settling somewhere between the Lake Tahoe and Sacramento area. He said he was living in a tent and working on a marijuana farm.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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