Sergeant Scott Lunger
Hayward Police Department, California
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Tour of Duty: 15 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: July 22, 2015
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Shot and wounded
Agency Contact Information
Chief Diane Urban
Hayward Police Department
300 W Winton Avenue
Hayward, CA 94544
Phone: (510) 293-7000
Sergeant Scott Lunger was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop near the intersection of Myrtle Street and Lyon Street at approximately 3:15 am.
Sergeant Lunger observed a vehicle driving erratically. He conducted a vehicle stop with the assistance of a second unit. As Sergeant Lunger and the officer approached the vehicle, an occupant opened fire, killing Sergeant Lunger. The other officer on scene returned fire as the vehicle fled. The subject vehicle was found abandoned a short time later. The wounded subject was located and taken into custody.
Sergeant Lunger had served with the Hayward Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his two daughters.
HAYWARD — Patrolling the city was not a job to Sgt. Scott Lunger.
Friends and colleagues say it was a labor of love for the officer who was shot and killed during an early morning traffic stop early Wednesday morning.
Lunger was taken to Eden Medical Center, police said, but died of his injuries after the shooting in a central Hayward neighborhood. Lunger, of Brentwood, was one of two officers who pulled over a vehicle that was driving erratically around 3:15 a.m. at Lion and Myrtle streets, authorities said.
As Lunger, 48, approached, the driver shot him without warning, Capt. Mark Koller said during a news conference at Hayward City Hall, where the flag was flying at half-staff Wednesday morning. The second officer returned fire, but was not hit.
Koller said a truck riddled with bullets had been located in East Oakland Wednesday morning and was connected to the shooting. Sources said that one person of interest, identified as Mark Estrada, 21, of Oakland, showed up at a San Leandro Hospital and was later taken to Highland Hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound on Wednesday.
Estrada was taken in to custody Wednesday afternoon, said Hayward police Chief Diane Urban. He and his family were not cooperating with officers.
Estrada worked at his father’s business in Hayward and was familiar with the city, Urban said. The suspect may have ties with gangs, according to evidence discovered in his home. He had no prior arrests or warrants.
Police recovered a gun and ammunition from the scene, she said. The investigation was "still very preliminary" early Wednesday evening.
According to a review of dispatcher reports, officers called in a license plate because a truck was "swerving all over the road." The truck stopped, and the dispatcher read back that the plate was clear but expired, when an officer screamed, "Shots fired!"
The officer described a white Chevy Silverado truck leaving the scene.
"Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired!" the officer screamed again. "Send me ER, send fire, partner down, partner down."
The incident happened in less than 45 seconds, Urban said. "There is no ‘why.’ It’s an absolutely senseless murder," she said.
Officers from around the region had gathered at Eden hospital by midmorning and a procession followed a van carrying Lunger’s body.
"We lost a warrior today," Urban said.
He is the fourth officer to die in the line of duty and first since Officer Benjamin Worcester was stabbed to death on March 25, 1987, according to the Hayward Police website.
Lunger had been a sergeant since 2009 and was a 15-year veteran of the police force, Koller said. He had two daughters. He was "well respected, well liked," and a member of the SWAT team and of gang unit, Koller said.
"He was an ideal police officer who loved his job and did it eagerly," Koller said. "This is a tragedy that someone did, it’s devastating … we’ll pull together and get through this. This has been a tremendous loss to myself and to this organization."
Lunger was a mentor to former Hayward police Officer Nick Niedenthal, who called his field training officer a man of character.
"Scott loved Hayward," Niedenthal said. He told me he’d do this job for free."
Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday said she was "heartbroken" after learning of the sergeant’s death.
"My heart aches for the family, for all of our officers. We’re all mourning," she said, her voice cracking.
Lunger played on the Tri-Valley Athletics baseball team. On the team’s Facebook page, teammates posted: "To our Fallen Team mate and Hayward Police Officer may tou (sic) rest in peace and we thank you for your services and friendship we will always have you in our thoughts during every game Tri Valley A’s."
As a police procession left Eden hospital with Lunger’s body, 16-year-old Carlos Ramirez and his mother Ophelia were there, holding an American flag. He had heard the helicopters flying overhead and wanted to show support for the police force.
"My first reaction was to take the flag off my bedroom wall … and bring it out here to show our support because of everything police officers do for us. They’re amazing," Ramirez said.
The neighborhood where the shooting took place is lined with single-family homes, just walking distance to the Hayward BART and City Hall.
Sulio Barraza, 25, of Hayward, who lives on Myrtle Street near shooting scene, said the nearby streets are a frequent site for drivers doing doughnuts. He said he was wakened by six police cruisers that immediately responded to the scene following the shooting.
"Last year it was a regular habit," he said about the drivers doing doughnuts. "It would happen once ever three weeks but it has been quiet for the last several months until this morning."
He said couldn’t recall the last time there was a shooting in the neighborhood.
One woman, who declined to be identified, said she had lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and that she had never heard of a shooting there. She said she was wakened by a car spinning doughnuts, then three or four gunshots followed by a pause then more gunshots. Moments later she said there was massive sirens followed by the sound of helicopters overhead.
"Bad things happen in good neighborhoods, too," she said. "They happen everywhere."
Check back for updates.
Staff writers Katrina Cameron, Rebecca Parr and Matthias Gafni contributed to this story.
Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh
HOW TO HELP
If you would like send a donation to help the family of Sgt. Scott Lunger, contact the Hayward Police Officers Association at 510-293-5010