Paso Robles neighbors were relieved but grief-stricken Wednesday after the arrest of a Clovis man suspected of fatally stabbing two women, one a North County resident.
Dave McCann, 49, of Clovis was arrested in Seaside about 2 a.m., according to a Paso Robles Police Department news release.
McCann’s estranged wife, Tierney Cooper-McCann, 36, and her mother, Judith Cooper, 68, were found dead about 4 a.m. Saturday at a West Omaha Avenue home in Clovis where Cooper-McCann reportedly lived. Cooper lived in Paso Robles.
Cooper’s Paso Robles neighbors, still in shock, described her as a “sweet” woman on Wednesday.
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“She was just the nicest person,” said Sharron Grasser, who lived in the same cul-de-sac as Cooper and her husband, John.
Police received a tip that someone picked up McCann in Big Sur on Sunday night and dropped him off at a McDonald’s in the Seaside area, Clovis Police Chief Matthew Basgall said during a press conference in Seaside on Wednesday morning.
Detectives searched through homeless camps in the area, and a tip from a homeless person led them directly to where McCann was sleeping up a bicycle trail and behind a fence, Basgall said.
“Without that person’s willingness to help us, we’d still be looking for Mr. McCann this morning,” Basgall said.
Immediately after the stabbings, McCann was thought to have driven to the Paso Robles area. On Saturday, Paso Robles police found the 16-foot white Penske moving truck McCann was believed to have been driving before possibly abandoning the vehicle in favor of a stolen 15-speed mountain bike, according to the Clovis Police Department.
After being captured in Seaside, McCann was taken back to Clovis on Wednesday morning.
Judith and John Cooper’s Paso Robles neighbors said they were glad McCann had been apprehended, but they were saddened by the death of their friend. The quiet Paso Robles cul-de-sac is filled with newer-looking stucco homes with Spanish-tiled roofs, manicured lawns and porches filled with potted plants. The Coopers’ fence featured a small sign with the name “Sophie,” in honor of her pet schnauzer.
Sierra Andrews lives next door to the Coopers with her parents. She said she didn’t know her neighbors very well, but Judith Cooper’s kind nature was evident even during their brief interactions.
“It was really unfortunate to lose someone like her,” Andrews said.
Ron and Sharron Grasser have only lived in the neighborhood since August, but said they’d quickly gotten close to the Coopers. The couples would take care of each other’s homes and pets when the other was out of town.
Sharron Grasser said she’d grown especially attached to Sophie. Sometimes, Judith Cooper, who Grasser said was a retired teacher, would bring the dog over for visits.
The Grassers said they’d seen Cooper’s children visit with their families, including Cooper-McCann and McCann. At one time, McCann even tried to sell the couple solar panels.
“He was just a normal, friendly, nice guy,” Sharron Grasser said.
Cooper-McCann worked as a child-life specialist in the burn unit at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, according to The Fresno Bee.
Early Sunday, while police were still searching for McCann, the Grassers said the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT team forced them to evacuate their home. SWAT, along with the the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and Clovis police officers, searched the Coopers’ home, along with another Paso Robles house, during the investigation.
The Grassers said they’ve called John Cooper to offer any help he might need but said they suspected he was in Clovis.
“You see all this stuff on TV,” Ron Grasser said. “You never expect it to come next door.”