No suspects in fatal shooting of Atascadero woman, police say

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comMay 23, 2013 

There’s evidence to indicate that the fatal shooting of an Atascadero woman in her home Wednesday “was directed at the victim,’’ Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley said Thursday. “But without a clear suspect or clear motive we can’t release additional details that could hinder the investigation.”

As authorities continued to investigate the homicide of 52-year-old Colleen Barga-Milbury, they have said the juvenile son of the victim is not a suspect.

Jenell Smith rushed to look outside the living room window of her Atascadero home Wednesday morning after she heard a single bang outside.

“I thought it was someone throwing something into that trailer,” Smith said as she pointed to her neighbor’s work trailer in the front yard of her house Thursday afternoon at Tranquilla and Rosita avenues.

She didn’t know that the same neighbor, Barga-Milbury, had been shot to death inside her home on the 4300 block of Tranquilla Avenue until investigators knocked on her door in the evening Wednesday.

“It’s unnerving to me because I don’t know what happened — and it’s right next door,” she said.

Smith described her neighbor as a quiet but friendly woman who kept to herself.

Barga-Milbury’s husband is deceased, said Smith, who never saw anyone but Barga-Milbury and her teenage son at the home.

“There was never a lot of coming and going there,” she said. “I never heard anything unusual there. Ever. It’s just sad.”

Officers at the scene confirmed that a suspect had not been identified as of Thursday afternoon. No other details, such as whether a weapon had been found or where in the house the victim was shot, were disclosed Thursday.

Haley said authorities were tracking down several leads and have increased patrols in the area to reassure neighbors.

Smith was appreciative of the added patrols: “It’s unnerving,” she said. “I’m not scared — but I didn’t sleep well last night.”

Atascadero resident Bob Sarber said Barga-Milbury graduated with him in 1979 from Atascadero High School.

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