Brother: South Lake Tahoe shooting victim ‘just liked to help people’
July 4, 2018
Do the best you can and enjoy it while you're doing it.
Those simple words sum up the advice Chris Kitchen imparted on his siblings and friends in need of guidance, according to Jonny Crabb, one of Kitchen's six siblings.
"He was an overall good person," Crabb recalled. "He taught me a lot. … He just liked to help people."
Kitchen, 44, was killed Saturday in a shooting the police say resulted from a verbal argument in Tahoe Verde mobile home park.
It was the city's second fatal shooting in less than three weeks. Unlike the first, law enforcement arrested a suspect in Kitchen's death.
Roy C. Figaro, a 62-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident and no stranger to law enforcement, is being held in the El Dorado County jail on a charge of murder.
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South Lake Tahoe police officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 1000 block of Julie Lane near the Y at 5:24 p.m. Saturday.
Upon arrival officers found Kitchen in the roadway with life-threatening injuries. Officers began life-saving efforts and put Kitchen into the back of a squad car to transport him out of an active crime scene. Police did not know the location of the shooter at the time, Lt. Shannon Laney told the Tribune.
Police drove Kitchen to nearby paramedics, who transported him to Barton Memorial Hospital.
Despite life saving efforts, he succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
"He loved life," Crabb said of his brother, adding that he had just recently sent him pictures from an outing on Lake Tahoe.
At the crime scene law enforcement identified the house where the suspect had barricaded himself inside.
Officers began evacuating nearby homes, and SWAT and a crisis negotiation team were called to the scene.
At some point Figaro attempted "death by cop," Laney said, using a phrase to describe the act of posing a threat for the purpose of provoking law enforcement to use deadly force.
According to Laney, Figaro walked outside of the home with his hand in his pocket, giving the impression he had a firearm.
Police shot a beanbag at Figaro, hitting him and sending him back inside.
From there it became a waiting game, and eventually Figaro surrendered without incident, Laney said, adding that the daylight and availability of resources from other agencies, including the county sheriff's and district attorney's offices, factored favorably in the outcome.
Figaro is in custody. According to Laney he is not cooperating with law enforcement, which is limiting the amount of information police can release about the altercation and events leading up to the shooting.
"We can't release any more information," Laney said.
Crabb said his brother was always looking to help people. He remembered going through a "rough patch" earlier in life, and his older brother helped him get out of that rough patch. As one of the oldest in a large family, Kitchen served as a source of guidance and motivation for many of his younger siblings and some of their friends.
"We all put him on a pedestal," Crabb said.
Kitchen didn't have any issues with substances or anger, Crabb said as far as he knew.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help cover the cost of burial service.
Figaro, according to Laney, had been arrested 11 times going back to 2002. Most of those were for disturbing the peace. Two of those arrests involved firearms.
Saturday's shooting was the second in less than three weeks.
On June 11, police responded to a call of shots fired in the 3600 block of Spruce Avenue in South lake Tahoe.
Gregory Mitchoff, 62, was found shot and badly injured when police responded to the scene. He was transported to Barton Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The shooting was South Lake Tahoe's first homicide since January 2016, South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler previously told the Tribune.
Witnesses told police they heard two male voices in what sounded like a verbal argument prior to the gunshots. The suspect fled the scene in a light-colored Pontiac Aztec.
That investigation is ongoing, and Laney said no additional details can be released at this time.