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Creek Running North

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August 02, 2005

Murder and place

While I was in the desert, a 25-year-old man, David Ruiz, is said to have walked up to more or less the exact spot from which I took this photo and shot three other people, two of whom have since died.

This isn't the first shooting in downtown Pinole: a few bullets flew there in June, fortunately without hitting anyone. It's not even the first murder in our neighborhood since we've moved in.

But it's unsettling, of course, and tremendously sad.

Ruiz allegedly committed this murder under the Santa Fe trestle over Pinole Creek. The trestle is a bit of a Pinole Creek icon for me. It's made of dark, creosoted timbers, rustic in appearance, and often a perch for the resident male belted kingfisher. It's also the spot where Zeke becomes most recalcitrant if I'm trying to get him to walk to the Bay with me. It's a psychic barrier for him, as he was spooked by the trains back when he could hear them. He still resists walking that stretch of trail. Once he's dragged past the low rise beneath the bridge, he relents and will walk the rest of the way.

And as I am usually there with Zeke, the trestle, low and groaning with the weight of passing freight trains, becomes a boundary for me as well. It is the line past which I assume I won't go on this particular walk.

To this day, two years after Mark Anthony Fregia set his children on fire on the off-ramp that leads to my house, I cannot pass the spot without thinking of horror, of mourning, of the demented, twisted mind that could conceive of such an act.

And another bit of history, this one tragic, is layered over the landscape of Pinole Creek. If I live here another fifty years, I suspect I will still think of the trestle as a place of murder, a dark emotional stain on the bright water and verdant banks.

Posted by Chris Clarke at August 2, 2005 02:42 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs


Horrific and very sad. And scary.

Posted by: beth at August 2, 2005 04:31 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

I'd trust Zeke's lead on this one, and stay away from that spot. I've had a bit of experience with ..... trestles.

By the way, welcome back. Sounds like you might want to cool off a bit, though.

Posted by: tost at August 2, 2005 09:05 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs