Nov 19, 2013 11:30 AM
Although officers wouldn't release his name directly after the shooting, investigators did issue a news release Monday night, confirming the identity of William Carl Gardner III, who is suspected in the woman's death and sought on a murder charge.
Gardner is 5 feet 10 inches tall, 186 pounds and was last seen wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt with tan pants that have side pockets, according to the Winters Police Department.
The 30-year-old is considered armed and dangerous, police said.
He's known to live in the Sacramento area.
Police spent Monday searching for Gardner, who is accused of shooting Leslie Pinkston in the head several times in downtown Winters.
Pinkston's family identified her as the victim in this case at a vigil held Monday night.
"She had an ongoing issue with this guy for about the last two years," said the victim's half-brother, Dennis Pinkston, speaking of the suspect. "Somebody told me she was taking him to court for child support."
The shooting took place about 9:30 a.m. in the 300 block of Railroad Avenue, less than a block away from two well-known restaurants, the Buckhorn and Putah Creek Cafe.
Police said Pinkston, who was in her 30s, was sitting in the driver's seat of a parked, black, BMW SUV when she was apparently ambushed.
Pinkston was taken to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she died from her injuries, police said.
Winters Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez said early on that he knew the identity of the shooter, but waited to a release Gardner's name or a description of the man.
"I would definitely say he is a threat to anybody, considering a firearm was used in this situation," Guiterrez said. "At this point, he is considered a threat to the public."
Gardner was seen getting into a tan van with a sliding door after the shooting.
Police searched along Putah Creek and received several unconfirmed sightings of the suspect, but none led to Gardner's arrest.
"I just called my wife and told her to look the doors, because he supposedly went down the creek and we live on the other side," resident John Lopez said.
The search for the gunman also prompted Winters-area schools to go on lockdown.
By early afternoon, lockdowns were lifted at all schools except one, Waggoner Elementary School.
Police said Waggoner Elementary School remained on lockdown because the victim's daughter is a student at the school.
Friends who arrived at the shooting scene said Pinkston worked at a nearby business and had issues with the father of their young daughter.
"She was going about her daily life, raising her daughter and working hard and doing what she needed to do," Dawn Barrera said.
Gutierrez said the daughter had been placed in the custody of family members.
"Leslie would help anybody that needed anything and had the biggest heart, and was the best mother," said Christy Bautista, a friend of the victim.
The suspect's vehicle was found Monday night in Sacramento, but there was no sign of the man. Read more.
The sheriff's departments from Yolo and Solano counties assisted with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Winters Police Department at 530-795-4561.
KCRA 3's Mallory Hoff and David Bienick contributed to this report.
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