Man accused of killing mother said he knew it was wrong, police say

Karen Shumey, 65, of Arroyo Grande was shot and killed Saturday in San Luis Obispo. Her son, Christopher, allegedly shot her after a heated argument at his apartment.
Karen Shumey, 65, of Arroyo Grande was shot and killed Saturday in San Luis Obispo. Her son, Christopher, allegedly shot her after a heated argument at his apartment.

UPDATE 4 p.m. The San Luis Obispo man suspected in the shooting death of his mother Saturday gave a statement to police that indicated he knew what he’d done and knew that what he was doing was wrong, Lt. Jeff Smith told The Tribune today.

Smith did not want to reveal additional information about the details of the statement that 34-year-old Christopher Shumey gave to police after his arrest, including any possible motive.

Police are still investigating the incident, Smith said, and trying to gather information about what led to the shooting.

Shumey is expected to be arraigned in a video conference at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Video conferences tend to delay a plea being entered until an attorney can be appointed to represent a criminal defendant.

A judge communicates with the defendant, who appears from the jail, via video feed to discuss the defendant’s awareness of their rights to a lawyer and whether the defendants understand what they’re being charged with.

Smith said that police don’t believe Shumey was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the alleged shooting happened – but police are awaiting the results of a toxicology exam. Smith also said that Shumey had been unemployed at the time of the incident.

Original story: The woman who was shot and killed Saturday in San Luis Obispo was a longtime teacher with the Lompoc Unified School District.

Karen Shumey, 65, was an eighth-grade teacher at Vandenberg Middle School, where she taught U.S. history and served as the department chair, according to the school’s website.

Shumey, of Arroyo Grande, wrote on her faculty page on the school’s website that she had taught in the district for more than 20 years. She and her husband have two grown sons, Shumey wrote, including a younger son who lives nearby.

“I always look forward to a new school year with the same excitement that I felt as a youngster starting a new year,” she wrote. “I hope that my enthusiasm for History rubs off ... just a little on my students.”

Shumey’s 34-year-old son, Christopher John Shumey, was arrested Saturday afternoon on suspicion of murder and assault with a firearm against a peace officer. He remained in County Jail, without bail, this morning.

Counselors and psychological staff are on hand at Vandenberg Middle School today to help students, faculty and staff cope with the death of eighth-grade history teacher Karen Shumey.

Counseling services were also offered to students at Cabrillo High School, where many of Shumey’s former students now attend, according to a news release from the Lompoc Unified School District. Vandenberg Middle School staff was notified Sunday of Shumey’s death.

Hugo Pedroza, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said counseling services would be available “as long as necessary.”

“She’s well-loved in that school community and the principal thinks the world of her,” Pedroza said today. He said he just met Shumey on Friday while visiting her classroom with the district superintendent.

“She definitely showed signs of being an amazing teacher just in the brief time we were there,” he said.

Shumey started working for the district in 1989 at Lompoc Valley Middle School, moving to Vandenberg Middle in 1992, where she currently served as social science department chair. She spent the rest of her career there, with the exception of one year working with other teachers in the district as a Lompoc Apprentice Teacher.

San Luis Obispo police were called to Christopher Shumey’s home at Beach and Buchon streets just after 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Residents in the area told The Tribune on Saturday that they heard a muffled bang about that time, and screams from a woman. Then a second shot went off, and the screams stopped, they said.

Police said Karen Shumey visited her son Saturday afternoon, and they had an argument. When she returned about 2:30 p.m., Christopher Shumey allegedly shot and killed her on the upstairs landing outside the front door.

Police arrived on the scene minutes after the first shots were fired. The suspect fired a shot at the first squad car on the scene from inside the second floor, said San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deborah Linden.

“As they approached, the suspect fired at them” through a closed window, breaking the glass, she said.

The two officers quickly took cover and then began talking with the suspect perched in the second-floor apartment, police and witnesses said.

The officers then persuaded the suspect to throw his shotgun onto the street, police said. After doing so, he jumped out of the window and gave himself up.

Officers then secured the apartment and found the body of the woman who had been killed on the upstairs deck.