Morro Bay Changed Forever By Killings — (The Fresno Bee)

SSRI Ed note: Man on Prozac develops paranoid grudges, goes on shooting spree, kills 6 others then himself.

Original article no longer available

The Fresno Bee (CA)

November 10, 1992

Author: Stevan Rosenlind


A bloody weekend rampage that led to the death of six people – including one of Morro Bay’s most beloved residents – may change forever the way this seaside town views itself.
Some people might even start locking up their homes at night.

“There was a lot of door-locking going on after we learned what happened,” said Morro Bay retiree John Askins.

Askins said he was listening to a radio scanner Saturday night when police announced Lynwood C. Drake III was at large after shooting three Morro Bay men to death.

By the time the night was over, Drake killed three more people and then committed suicide in what police described as San Luis Obispo County’s first mass murder.

The weekend slayings were the first in five years in Morro Bay, according to police. It was the first multiple murders in the city in more than a dozen years.

In a suicide note, Drake wrote: “I Jesse Cole Younger killed 3 men because they took my wife, family and daughter from me.”

Police believe Drake, 43, wrote the note – which apparently refers to a member of the Wild West Jesse James gang – between the time he shot the men in Morro Bay and the time he gunned down two men and a woman in a Paso Robles cardroom six hours later.

“I have been persecuted my whole life . . . damn the American family to hell. God forgive me,” he wrote in the note that was found in his coat pocket hours after his death.

While police Monday tried to put the pieces of Drake’s murderous puzzle together, some residents wondered how the shooting would affect the town of 10,000 that thrives on a good reputation.

Mugs Haugen, a restaurant worker, was drinking a Coke with her two sons at Foster’s Freeze. She said her good feelings about Morro Bay won’t change.

“Its very scary that it happened here,” she said. “But it’s not like we’re having a crime wave.”

Haugen said she moved to Morro Bay from Southern California because of its low crime rate – the last murder there was in 1985.

“The reason I’m here is because of these guys,” she said, pointing to her boys, ages 5 and 2. “I want them to be safe.”

As a result of the shooting, she said she might start locking her doors – if she can find her house key.

Mary Ann Shea from Anaheim visits Morro Bay every chance she gets. “I love it here,” she said. “This won’t change anything.”

Askins, standing outside the Morro Bay police station, said he moved here 15 years ago. He said Morro Bay is a pretty safe place. But he noted that one of the victims was a senior citizen who was very prominent in the community.

Police said Drake shot and killed Andrew Zatko, 80, because the men had argued over his eviction of Drake.

“Zatko was very well-liked,” said Morro Bay Police Sgt. Gregg Beuer. “I think most people around here know who he is. He was sort of a character.”

Beuer said that Zatko was especially popular with the fishing community because of his efforts to commemorate sailors who had died at sea.

Beuer noted that Drake just walked into the homes of Zatko and other victims through unlocked front doors. He said generally Morro Bay residents don’t pay much attention to locking up.

“You can walk down the street and find 15 cars with the keys inside,” he said.

Said retiree Askins: “Some of those doors will probably stay locked now.”

Although investigations continue, police say Drake felt persecuted, obsessed over his family and blamed other card players for his gambling losses.

Beuer said Zatko evicted Drake six months ago from his central Morro Bay rental house known to locals as the “windmill house.” Drake was behind in his rent.

The “wife” Drake referred to in his suicide note left him at about the same time. Police refused to identify the woman. Beuer said Drake and the woman were not married but were living together and were parents of one child.

The night of the killings, Drake, who had been living in his car, entered Zatko’s home and shot him once in the neck, killing him. Zatko was found by his live-in companion, Gladys Walton.

“He thought the eviction had cost him his family,” Beuer said. “The only thing in the world that mattered to him was his family.”

Police theorize that Drake then drove to the home of Norman Metcalfe, 37, who had earlier helped Zatko in the eviction and had testified against Drake.

After Metcalfe came home with two other men, Drake walked in and shot him between the eyes with a .32-caliber pistol. During a struggle for the gun, A friend of Metcalfe’s, Danny Cizek, 32, of Goleta, was killed and another friend Jeffrey Sidlin, 27, of Morro Bay was wounded.

“He wanted to get Metcalfe, that’s what he was there for, ” Beuer said.

Witnesses reported that Metcalfe’s daughter and Sidlin ran from the house during the shooting but were ignored by Drake, who left a short time later.

Neighbors identified Drake, also known as “Crazy Jim,” as the shooter, police said.

While officers put out a bulletin for Drake, he showed up 40 miles away at Oak’s Card Parlor in Paso Robles, where he fatally shot dealers David Law, 41, and Kris Staub, 31, both of Atascadero at the back of the cardroom, said Butch Cantalupo of the Paso Robles police. Drake then shot local customer Joe Garcia, 60, who was trying to get out a door while about 10 other patrons scrambled for their lives. Drake refrained from further killing after some patrons begged for their lives.

Authorities believe Drake was upset because he had been banned from the cardroom as a troublemaker. All the victims were believed to be card dealers.

Police traced Drake to the home of another former landlord, Joanne Morrow, where he committed suicide after talking on the phone with authorities.

Lynwood C. Drake III Associated Press Survivor. Joanne Morrow, in Templeton Hospital, recounts her ordeal. Lynwood DrakeMorro Bay gunman’s rampage

Toxicology reports found a therapeutic level of Prozac in the blood of Lynwood Drake III. This was confirmed by three different advocate groups.

Record Number:  1992315007