Homicide on Hazel

A young man found shot to death on the front steps of his Hazel Street home has not been linked to any crimes, said Chico Police Detective Sergeant Dave Barrow, who was asked to speculate on a possible motive for the slaying. “We know he definitely pissed someone off,” Barrow said. “Someone went over there to shoot him.”

Christopher Wallace Herrmann, 22, a communications student at Chico State University, was found Friday night around 8:30 by a friend who had come to visit. That friend had spoken to Herrmann on a cell phone only 15-20 minutes before finding him slumped against the front door of his residence.

“He didn’t immediately know that Chris had been shot,” Barrow said. “He saw him lying there and thought maybe he’d been beat up or something.”

Herrmann was shot once in the upper fore region of the head. After being summoned by a 9-1-1 call, an ambulance took Herrmann to Enloe Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Neighbors later told police they had heard a shot but hadn’t gone out to investigate.

Contrary to early speculation that Herrmann had been killed for taking part in a rash of burglaries that has plagued the area recently, Barrow said there was no evidence to support that claim. Barrow also said that investigators did not currently believe that Herrmann was shot as part of a drug deal gone sour. Police are currently interviewing neighbors, friends and family members of Herrmann in hopes of gleaning more information.

Detectives have made steady progress in the case but aren’t necessarily close to solving it, Barrow said. This last shooting came less than a week after another young man was gunned down in the parking lot of an apartment building on Columbus Avenue. In that incident, Octavian Lee Joseph, 26, was shot several times in the torso. Joseph survived the ordeal, which some residents are blaming on drug dealers that they say are common in the neighborhood surrounding the apartments.