Search continues for murder suspect
December 16, 2004
VIRGINIA CITY – The search continued Thursday for the suspect in the shooting death of Linda Ziegler, a former San Francisco policewoman found dead in her Virginia City Highlands home Tuesday.
Gary Duane Brown, 51, is possibly in the Idaho area, Northern California or Northern Nevada, said Lt. Mike Allen of the investigation division of the Department of Public Safety. A murder warrant was issued for his arrest Wednesday afternoon.
“We have information that he at one time had relatives in the Twin Falls area. Law enforcement has been notified there,” Allen said.
Brown, the live-in boyfriend of Ziegler, is suspected of gunning down the career police officer sometime Monday.
Storey County deputies went to 1965 Silverado Road after someone called requesting Ziegler be checked on.
When they arrived, Ziegler was dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Multiple weapons were found inside the two-story home and investigators have determined at least one weapon is missing, Allen said.
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An acquaintance told investigators he last saw Brown on Tuesday in Reno.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to try to find him. We have resources out everywhere assisting in this search,” Allen said.
The Storey County Sheriff’s Office and the state issued a statement asking for the public’s help in locating Brown. He is believed to be armed and driving a silver-gray 1989 Toyota four-wheel-drive pickup with Nevada license plates 682 NVN.
Sgt. Neville Gittens, of the San Francisco Police Department, said Ziegler, known then as Linda Morris, served as a police officer from 1975 to February 2003. He said she worked various assignments from patrol to legal in her 28 years with the force.
The home where she was killed was put in her name in 2002. Both her name and Brown’s are on undeveloped property at 1940 Silverado.
In 2002, Ziegler signed a domestic battery complaint against Brown stemming from a Dec. 6 argument over his employment and living arrangements.
Allen said he has no information on what, if any, work Brown did.
“Gary’s demeanor rose to grabbing me out of bed, throwing me to the floor, picking me up by my shoulders,” she wrote in a handwritten statement to police. “He (dragged) me into the bedroom into the closet where he (grabbed) his SKS rifle, checked to see if it was loaded, pushed me on the floor and pointed it at my head and chest.”
Ziegler said in the statement she was able to escape with her dog to a neighbor’s house when Brown went to find bullets. The SKS rifle is a semi-automatic weapon in which the trigger must be pulled each time to fire a round.
He was initially charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon and other offenses, but the felony count was dismissed and he eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery.
The case against Brown was closed in October 2003 after he paid $315 in fines, spent 48 hours in jail, completed 48 hours of community service and went through domestic violence counseling.
Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.