Police arrested a suspect with a lengthy criminal record Friday in the point-blank gunshot slaying of a HomeBase store manager.
Police took Daniel Carl Frederickson, 33, an unemployed resident of Garden Grove, into custody for questioning at about 5 p.m. As a result of the interview, Frederickson was arrested on suspicion of murder. A .32-caliber revolver believed to have been used in the slaying was recovered, Officer Michael Fuller said. The motive appeared to be robbery, police said.
Police said they also confiscated the white van in which they believe the killer escaped. A man with nose studs and several rings pierced through one cheek had lingered in the Bristol Marketplace store for more than 30 minutes before approaching Scott H. Wilson, 30, of Costa Mesa, speaking to him briefly and shooting him in the head on Thursday.
Police initially said the 11:35 a.m. shooting probably was a foiled robbery, but investigators were scouring for clues that might point to an intentional killing, Police Sgt. Bob Clark said. Wilson died at about 5 p.m. at UCI Medical Center.
Wilson was shot as he walked with $50 in change from the safe in the front of the store toward a cashier. The killer did not take the $50. While investigators have not ruled out robbery as a possible motive, Clark said a robber would have been more likely to approach Wilson while he was at the safe or to have robbed one of the cashiers.
“The way this incident occurred was just a little unusual,” Clark said. “The average commercial robbery takes about 23 seconds; the guy’s in, the guy’s out. He doesn’t want people to see him.”
Clark said the man’s facial jewelry made him unusually conspicuous for a robber.
“In my eight years working robbery-homicide, I never saw a robber with so much stuff on his face,” Clark said. “Unless it was part of a disguise . . . but it didn’t sound like it from witnesses. It sounds like, if he took them out, there would be holes there.”
The shooting occurred as about two dozen customers were shopping at a relocation sale at the store at 17th and Bristol streets, which is moving to new quarters next door.
One witness said she had watched the assailant for about half an hour before the attack, wondering if he was “casing the joint,” because he had no shopping cart and no merchandise in his hands.
Police thought they had a license plate for the white van in which the killer fled, but the plates belong to a red truck owned by a Garden Grove woman, Clark said. On Friday, investigators ran the plate number though a computer program to come up with close matches.
Four investigators had been assigned to the case, Clark said.
Frederickson was being held at the Santa Ana Detention Facility. Police said he has a long criminal past, but details were not readily available.
Employees at the Santa Ana warehouse Friday struggled to do their jobs and planned to go forward with a blood drive they had planned just after the shooting.
“Originally the team members wanted to do it, to try to donate blood to Scott,” company spokeswoman Marie Kroesen said. “Now we’re trying to donate blood to those people who need it.”
The time and place of the blood drive have not been set, but it is expected to be next week at HomeBase corporate headquarters in Irvine.
Kroesen said the company is providing counseling to employees, particularly those who witnessed the shooting. A counselor was at the Santa Ana warehouse on Thursday and another counselor spent Friday talking with employees. Kroesen said HomeBase will arrange for another counseling session next week.
“They are just trying to deal with their regular workday,” she said of Santa Ana employees. “We gave them the option: If you don’t want to come in, that’s up to you.”
Meanwhile, HomeBase employees in Vista, where Wilson worked from 1993 until he was transferred to Santa Ana three months ago, requested permission to cover their name tags with black tape in respect for Wilson’s family.
“He was a very personable fellow,” Kroesen said. “A lot of people really liked him. He was real popular.”