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Orinda Union School District Board Member Shot During Robbery Outside Claremont Avenue Home Monday

Photo: File

Two gunmen robbed an Orinda Union School District board member and her husband in the driveway of their Claremont Avenue home Monday, shooting OUSD board of trustees vice president Carol Brown twice after her husband turned over the couple’s belongings.

Tom Spalding, Brown’s husband, was pistol whipped during the encounter. Brown was reported to be in stable condition at John Muir Medical Center with gunshot wounds to her arm and hip. Spalding was treated for a wound to his head and later released.

Police Chief Mark Nagel said police were called to the home at 9:09 p.m. after a male caller dialed police to report that the couple had been robbed and a woman shot. Officers responding to the residence determined that the couple may have been followed home from an evening shopping trip and confronted in their driveway by two armed men wearing “Halloween-style” masks.

Neighbors told NEWS24/680 Monday that three shots were heard at about the time of the robbery and that Brown and Spalding were believed to have been targeted.

Brown and Spalding, both in their 70s, said they handed over a purse, wallet and a guitar to their assailants when, for reasons unknown but possibly because Brown hesitated in handing over her purse, one of them opened fire, striking Carol Brown twice.

The couple told neighbors they initially thought they were being pranked when confronted by the two men.

The robbers fled on foot, eluding a police perimeter set up almost immediately after the robbery was reported.

While it was not immediately known if the incidents were related, two men in Halloween masks robbed a man of his rental car and iPhone in Rodeo hours after the Orinda crime.

This story is unfolding. We’ll have more when details become available.

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    • Unsure of precise timing of things at this point… believe the family was confronted outside the home, at least one gun shown, possessions handed over but not sure if gunshots preceded demand or came after…

    • Staring down the barrel of a 9 mm tends to make most people sheeplike, Dave. And we don’t think they deserved to be sheared last night… or any other time.

  1. Hopefully Safeway has cameras in parking lot. I realize these are elderly couple but you always have to be aware who is behind you at night as you drive home. They should have continued past their house and called police while in the car. These thugs from Oakland have discovered the tunnel and it is only going to get worse.

  2. Got your flash alert on this last night and we locked ourselves in. We could hear the sirens. This is very scary and while it doesn’t happen often it drives home of how vulnerable we can be. I hope the people involved recover quickly and that the police find these thugs.

  3. It’s pretty clear to me that there are people out there who want what we have and are willing to shoot us to get it.

  4. Shot her after they handed over the their things. Nice. Hopefully this couple will be able to look these punks in the eye before their testimony sends them to San Quentin.

  5. Don’t assume the perps are from Oakland: we’ve had people arrested for burglaries here that came in from all over the Bay Area – from San Francisco to Antioch. If the later incident in Rodeo is connected, I’d put my bets on anywhere between Richmond and Fairfield, with escape route up San Pablo Dam Road instead of Hwy 24. Cops are likely checking the cameras from the Carquinez toll booth today.

    • Morning, Alex… agreed that making assumptions here would be unwise with perpetrators come here from the areas you mention and beyond. Thanks for that post…

  6. Wow. Sit in a dark parking lot and wait for two people who look like they may not put up much of a struggle and then rob them. Best wishes to this couple and Godspeed to the police I hope they find these people really soon.

  7. According to KTVU, she first picked up her husband at Orinda BART, then they went shopping at Safeway. My guess is these robbers were at BART, and the couple was followed from BART. I don’t think these violent robbers are residents of Lamorinda, and shopping at Safeway Orinda. They could be from anywhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re from Oakland. Oakland – Orinda is a short trip on BART. It’s speculation, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

  8. @danielle… I don’t think they got here by Bart if that’s what you were suggesting as that would put them on foot and if they’re following these people around I would have to think they would have to do it in a car. My guess is they were cruising around town looking for someone to rob and saw these folks and follow them and did it quickly when they were vulnerable.

  9. Tim, I agree there must have been a car involved (at some point) even if they fled on foot. Sadly, the couple thought this was a prank (Halloween masks), and she fought for her purse, and they shot her.

  10. Sounds like they’re getting the support they need at this time. That’s good as this has to be one of the most frightening things that can happen to you. I hope she recovers quickly.

  11. I thought about what I do if someone’s imagine my purse like that. In my mind I’d like to think that I would fight for it too but then I have to remind myself that there are people out there perfectly willing to kill me for it. I hope these people recover quickly.

  12. I was 8 when two robbers forced their way into our home. My father was military and out of town. Turns out the guys had worked for the moving company so they’d overheard my parents discussing my dad’s upcoming out of town trip and they knew everything we owned because they either moved it or saw us unpacking it.

    They spent the entire night from about 5pm until 6am the next morning partying in our house with their friends while my mother and I were tied up in the bedroom.

    More than 45 years ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    I hope the wife in this case recovers quickly.

  13. OMG, Tom. Must have been life altering. Terrible.

    I’ll admit that these situations give me Charles Bronson “Death Wish” fantasies, but, in reality, I would try my best to calmly give the bad guys all my stuff to keep my family safe.

    I love my privacy and my freedom, but if we don’t have enough CCTV cameras up to track and catch these guys, let’s get some more (but only only the images to investigate felonies).

  14. The guys in my case were caught and convicted. Sadly, in another home invasion, they raped the lady of the house. This, combined with the home invasion and kidnapping charges, resulted in a very lengthy sentence.

    • We were going to say, anyone that comfortable with taking over a household had done it before. As Chris says, a life-altering experience… glad you made it through.

  15. Please consider voting for initiatives that help people get out of poverty and which support birth control, after school programs and supporting single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet. People are going to cross the line of decency when there is not enough societal structure to help lower the risks of people going over the edge. We have to think of how we can help prevent these things, not just to protect ourselves and family only, but how do we keep this kind of crime from being a rarity everywhere. We can make a difference in our choices when we go to vote.

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