Home Main Category Breaking News Perpetrator In Walnut Creek Murder-Suicide Built His Own “Ghost Guns”

Perpetrator In Walnut Creek Murder-Suicide Built His Own “Ghost Guns”

Clare Orton, Walnut Creek

Questions about the origin of the weapon used by a Lafayette man and Stanford engineering student to murder a friend and then take his own life were partially answered Tuesday after investigators in Walnut Creek determined that Scott Bertics had secretly built two untraceable weapons from parts he ordered through the mail.

In a release issued by the department, Lt. Lanny Edwards said: “There were two firearms used by Bertics on 7/21/15. Both weapons were built by Bertics, who secretly ordered various parts through the mail. There has been no evidence located to suggest any of the retailers who sold the parts and/or accessories did anything illegal.”

Bertics, a 21-year-old Acalanes High School graduate on leave from courses at Stanford, shot 19-year-old Clare Orton at her Walnut Creek home when she answered her door and then turned another weapon, apparently, on himself.

Both Bertics and Orton were found dead at the front of the residence when police arrived.

The practice of obtaining and assembling so-called “ghost guns,” preferred by underworld users and gun fanciers hoping to skirt state and federal restrictions on some weapons, has been addressed by various law enforcement and gun regulation entities in recent years.

Orton, a freshman majoring in environmental engineering at San Diego State, knew and had dated Bertics, friends and family said, but the pair was not romantically involved.

Orton graduated from Las Lomas High School in 2014. Bertics attended Acalanes in Lafayette, graduating in 2012. Both were interested in engineering and both were long distance runners on the track teams at their high schools.


  1. That seems like a strange step to take if he bought the guns and assembled them with the intention of taking his own life at the end of this horrific crime.

  2. It sounds like the young man in question was definitely going through something. It’s a shame no one was able to catch it and help.

  3. Tragic.

    I don’t know any facts about this particular case but, fyi, a common reason to build your own gun is that it is cheaper. This is (or was) particularly true for AR-15 patterned guns whose prices skyrocketed during the period when federal and state bans seemed likely. A common practice was to buy “80% kits” that required some final modification and assembly to make a working gun.

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