Deadly shooting of Toyota employee was act of domestic violence, authorities say

An investigation us now underway by several agencies after gunfire rang out at a Toyota dealership in Albany where authorities say a man shot and killed a woman who worked at the service center and was then shot and killed by Berkeley police.

The Alameda County sheriff's office says the woman killed Thursday was the victim of domestic violence at her workplace.

On Friday, staff at the dealership did not want to go on camera but confirmed to KTVU the suspect had brought the victim coffee before returning and using a handgun to shoot her on the second floor.

The victim had worked at the dealership's business development center, helping to identify sales leads among new and existing customers.

Workers say they knew little about the woman's relationship with the suspect.

Jennifer Dow-Rowell executive director of Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments said, "It can be difficult to reach somebody when they are in the throes of a violent relationship, because it is our impulse to protect our relationships, and we don't want people to know there's trouble."

On Friday, the Toyota service center was closed to the public but was returning cars to customers who couldn't visit because of the shooting.

A day after the tragedy, the Albany police chief and a Berkeley police spokeswoman had no new information to release.

Albany police are investigating the woman's killing, while Berkeley police, the sheriff's office and the DA's office are looking into the shooting by Berkeley police.

Five officers opened fire when the suspect fired at them, said Michael Rains, an attorney for the officers.

"In this case, he then became an imminent threat to death to the officers themselves by firing on them," Rains said."He actually fired at them, and that really doesn't leave them, under the law or otherwise, any viable alternative but to return fire. They're literally, at that point, in defense of their own life."

The last time Berkeley police were involved in a deadly shooting was back in 2010, when officers shot and killed a man suspected of a hit-and-run crash in Albany.

 Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and