Red Bluff officer David F. Mobilio, 31, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning, Nov. 19, when he stopped to fill his patrol car with gas.
Mobilio, a four-year veteran of the police department, was shot twice sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., said Dennis Garton, Tehama County undersheriff. Garton stated, “He apparently had pulled in there to get gas, got out of his car, and was shot and killed.”
Fellow officers went looking for Mobilio when he didn’t respond to their radio calls. They found his body around 2:30 a.m. near the gas pump, his gun drawn, Garton said.
Andrew McCrae, 23, was arrested in Concord, N.H. on Nov. 26, the day of Mobilio’s funeral, and charged in a fugitive warrant with killing the officer. Police were tipped to his presence by the FBI. McCrae told a reporter, “I killed a police officer in Red Bluff, CA, in an effort to draw attention to police brutality.”
Mobilio was the first officer to die in the line of duty in Red Bluff, a city of 13,500. Some 2,500 people, including Gov. Davis, attended Mobilio’s memorial service Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Tehama County Fairgrounds in the Pauline Davis Pavilion. Red Bluff Police Chaplain Ron Fortenberry officiated.
Gov. Davis told the mourners, “Mobilio gave his life for the values, right against wrong, the rule of law against lawlessness.These are the very fabric of a democratic society. He was a terrific police officer, embodying the best our nation has to offer. The true debt we owe him can never be repaid.”
Red Bluff Police Chief Robert Petitt said, “Anytime a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, we all lose. We have questions and we want answers. God answers prayers and as a Christian, I have faith God is in control. I have hope for the future.”
Petitt asked Mobilio’s wife, Linda, to “accept our presence here today as a tribute no words can ever say. The person who did this not only killed a police officer, but a husband, father, son, brother and friend who was especially interested in making a difference in our community.”
Petitt continued that the highest honor that can be given is to imitate his example. “I hope my words bring some comfort to Linda and her family. Dave, may the peace you gave your life to support, flow with you.”
Mobilio’s parents, Richard and Laurie, shared events from their son’s life with those in attendance. Richard Mobilio told the group, “My son developed a love for law enforcement and had undeniable courage. He was the embodiment of ‘True Grit’ and made us all proud beyond words. Dave lived his life to the fullest. He was rich beyond measure because of the path he walked.”
He added, with his voice breaking, “So I will love him, and respect him, and miss him mightily for the rest of my days.”
Mobilio was known to the children of Red Bluff as “DAREman Dave.” He had been lauded as a “wonderful influence on the children he taught,” and for his “ability to relate to children.” Since becoming the DARE officer in 1998, Mobilio taught drug awareness to more than 1,000 fifth and sixth grader-graders in Tehama County.
Kate Grimes, principal of Sacred Heart School, said that when Mobilio visited the sixth grade class each Wednesday he often came early to share lunch and to laugh with the students.
Mobilio, a native of Saratoga, a suburb of San Jose, attended college in Chico where he met his wife. He was remembered by many as a dedicated family man who “enjoyed spending time with his wife and son.” Mobilio’s wife, Linda, teaches fifth grade at Evergreen Elementary School in Cottonwood.
Mobilio joined the Red Bluff Police Department in 1997 as a reserve officer, later becoming the department’s DARE officer.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, their 19-month-old son, Luke; and parents, Richard and Laurie Mobilio.
Several memorial funds have been set up for Mobilio’s family:
Red Bluff Peace Officers Association, Family of Police Officer David Mobilio Fund, P.O. Box 8367, Red Bluff 96080; David F. Mobilio Memorial Scholarship Fund, Mid Valley Bank for Luke, P.O. Box 1270, Red Bluff 96080; and Tri Counties Bank, DARE program of Tehama County, No. 66513701, 727 South Main Street, Red Bluff 96080.