Friends mourn victim of latest Highway 4 shooting

Friends of a man shot and killed on Highway 4 mourned their loss Tuesday, saying the victim had been looking forward to becoming a first-time father.

Lawrence Esclovon, 26, of Stockton was the second victim of a deadly shooting on Highway 4 in Contra Costa County in less than two weeks.

The latest shooting happened at about 7:30 p.m. Monday on eastbound Highway 4 near Hillcrest Avenue. Esclovon died at the scene.

"I'm heartbroken. You know, that was my boy," said longtime friend Rashid Itston, who grew up with Esclovon in Pittsburg. 

His friend was going to be a father for the first time, with a baby boy due in October. Esclovon's profile pictures on Facebook show a man enjoying life and being happy. 

"No parent should be burying their kid," Itson said. "His baby has to now come into the world without a father."

Another friend Michael Crutchfield said, "Just senseless, senseless violence. And it just needs to stop."

Crutchfield was previously the victim's supervisor at DHL in Tracy. 

"You could tell he was raised the correct way,' Crutchfield said. "He was not doing any bad things. He was a hard working young man, he came to work, worked sometimes 60 hours a week."

The CHP shut down a large portion of the highway to look for evidence, including shell casings. Authorities say freeway shootings can be complicated crime scenes.

"The evidence isn't going to remain in a static location the way it would if there was a shooting outside of a home or inside of a building, where there's a controlled environment," said prosecutor Simon O'Connell, who is acting second in command at the Contra Costa County DA's office.

O'Connell said investigators are exploring all possible motives, "whether that's because they're mistaken as a rival, whether a gang member has chosen to target someone, and there's collateral damage, or there's road rage. It is a pandemic."

As the CHP reviews security cameras, ShotSpotter devices and license-plate readers in hopes  of finding the shooter, friends of Esclovon are saying farewell. 

"I love you, Lawrence," Itson said. "Watch out over us."