CA toll collector shot to death

August 12, 2009 12:23:22 PM PDT
Authorities were continuing their search Wednesday morning for a man suspected of firing a shotgun at the entrance to a busy San Francisco Bay area bridge, killing a toll collector and one other person. Nathan Burris, 46, was seen driving away from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza in an airport van with "Western Express Shuttle" written on the side, the California Highway Patrol said.

The shooting at about 6 p.m. Tuesday left shattered glass and delayed evening commuter traffic on the bridge north of San Francisco.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said one victim was 51-year-old Deborah Ross, who worked as a Caltrans toll collector for eight years. Police said Ross and Burris shared a house in Richmond, and neighbors said the two had been having financial problems.

Witnesses said a man used the butt of a shotgun to shatter the window of the No. 3 toll booth, then fired at least three times before fleeing in the van. Officers found Ross' body inside the booth. Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross described the scene as "horrific."

The body of a second victim -- a man in about his 40s -- was found inside a pickup in the parking lot of the nearby toll plaza building, authorities said. The driver's side window of the truck had been blown out, and a shell casing was seen nearby on the pavement.

He also was a Caltrans employee, and had driven Ross to work on Tuesday, authorities said.

Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff in Ross' honor, a statement from Schwarzenegger's office said.

The bridge over the northern portion of San Francisco Bay connects well-to-do Marin County with Richmond and other East Bay suburbs.

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