HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Fellow officers are remembering a fallen comrade after a veteran Hayward police sergeant was shot and killed in cold blood. Officials say a suspect with gang affiliations has been placed under arrest.
A clearly emotional Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban spoke of the tremendous loss her department has suffered in the 48-year-old Brentwood resident's death. And she confirmed that an arrest has been made in the sergeant's murder.
"There really isn't a whole lot of good news to share, other than that we have made an arrest," she said. "We do have a suspect in custody. Mark Anthony Estrada. He turned 21 years old just four days ago."
Urban says Estrada turned 21 years old just four days ago. He's being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland for wounds suffered in the overnight gun battle.
"There is no why," said Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban. "It's an absolutely senseless murder."
Police say the incident began around 3 a.m. in the area of Lion and Myrtle streets when Lunger and another officer stopped a driver who was "driving erratically." The chief says it took just 45 seconds from the time Lunger stopped the vehicle to the time he was shot.
Witness John Super says the shots came in rapid succession.
"I heard the shots for sure," he said. "The shots were so rapid fire it was war-like almost. Just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam."
Police radio traffic indicates how quickly the incident escalated.
Officer: "The plate you gave me... The second one you gave me is clear. It's expired... Shots fired, shots fired!"
Dispatcher: "Lion shots fired. Myrtle and Lion."
Officer: "Send me, uh, send me fire. I've got my partner down. Partner down."
The officer continued to provide the dispatcher with information, and identified Lunger as his partner.
After the sergeant went down, police say his partner fired at the white pickup truck as it sped away. That truck, riddled with bullet holes, was found a short time later in Oakland near 98th and Edes avenues.
Estrada was shot multiple times and is being treated at Highland Hospital where he's in police custody and under guard.
In the meantime, Hayward police searched a home in Oakland linked to Estrada and removed several bags of evidence.
"The people don't care about the officers, you know?" said neighbor Tim. "They just assume that they just want to kill them sometimes or they want to hurt them sometimes because they don't care for them."
Estrada's family is linked to a Hayward roofing company headquartered less than a quarter mile from the shooting scene. In a statement, General Manager Steve Galli said, ""Earlier today ABC7 News reported on the family of Mark Anthony Estrada being 'linked' to a Hayward roofing company near the scene. Mark Anthony Estrada has only been employed with BTRoof for two weeks. Mark's father has been a highly valued and well respected employee with us for the past 19 years. This is a tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out the Lunger family and the Hayward Police Department during this extremely difficult time. We have no further comment."
The Hayward Police Department is made up of 174 sworn officers. Lunger is the fourth to die in the line of duty. Prior to Wednesday, the department had not lost an officers since 1987.
Lunger was a 15-year veteran of the Hayward police force. He was also a volunteer softball coach at Liberty High School in Brentwood and an avid adult league baseball player himself.
"When you read about, hear about, think about what a warrior looks like, just visualize what Scott Lunger was and how he lived his life," Urban said. "He was a great leader here at our organization. He inspired people every day. An incredible friend, a great father, a brother, a husband, a partner. We have really suffered a tremendous loss today and the world is a little bit worse for him being gone."
The chief went on to say, "Probably the most important thing that I would like to share with the community, with the allied agencies is how much the Hayward Police Department appreciates all of the love and support that you are giving each and every one of the men and women who support and protect you on a daily basis. You know, police work is not a very sexy job. And nobody wants a cop unless they need one. And today is a day that I just really want to thank my community for coming together and supporting all of us, loving us. The outpouring of messages, phone calls, emails, Facebook, social media, you name it. On behalf of all of the men and women here in the Hayward Police Department, we thank all of you."
Lunger leaves behind two teenage daughters.
Hayward police say they will be working with the sergeant's family regarding donations. Those with questions can contact the Hayward Police Officers Association at 510-293-5010.
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