Kimberly Saunders arrest photo on March 2, 2015.
By Allen Payton
Kimberly Saunders, one of three people arrested for murder and other charges in the shooting death of Chris Monico, on Monday, March 2, 2015, after being released without any charges filed against her, says it was an accident.
Also charged and still being held on murder charges, are her husband, Tony Belfield and her nephew, Richard Ludlow.
Saunders claims Monico was brought to her and Belfield’s Antioch home by her brother and Monico lived with them for over a month before the tragic incident, hiding out from people who wanted to harm him.
In an email to the Herald, on Monday, March 9, Saunders wrote, “Dear Christopher Monico’s family. We are sorry for your loss…Christopher was not killed in cold blood. We loved Christopher. It was a mere accident we didn’t know it was him running about the car.”
“Christopher stayed with us for a whole month-and-a-half, with my nephew, my husband and me. I would never, neither my husband or my nephew ever hurt him. We were together every single day,” she added.
“I just wanted to tell you guys I’m very very sorry so sorry we lost him we love him too and know he was your immediate blood family but we love them, too,” Saunders continued. “I took care of him he was my responsibility… and then this happens…& I just am lost for words I really don’t know what to say, you know. I’m sorry I don’t know what to say it’s like I said it wasn’t intentionally done.”
UPDATE 3/11/15: In an interview, today, Saunders provided a more detailed explanation of what occurred.
“My brother, who had broken up with his girlfriend, Chris and my nephew didn’t have a place to stay. They came to stay with us. We were staying with someone else. That wasn’t even our house. We were looking for our own house.
One day my husband and Chris were looking for a friend of ours that was fixing our car stereo.
There were two guys there, a black guy and a Hispanic guy. As Tony and Chris drove away the two men opened fire on them. This was three days before Chris’ death.
When asked why they didn’t call the police after the two men shot at Tony and Chris, she stated, “We’re not cop callers. It is what it is.”
“Tony and Chris said they’d never seen those two in the area, before” she stated.
The next time they saw them, again was on the day Monico was shot and killed and, she claims is what led to the tragedy.
Saunders said that on the day of the shooting “Chris said ‘we saw the same two guys who shot at us and they circled around us a couple times,’” Saunders said. “So I told him to go back to the house and stay inside.”
“We [Belfield, Ludlow and Saunders] drove around looking to see if we could find the two men. But, we didn’t see them. We drove around for a couple hours. But they were gone. So, we went shopping. Then when we got back, there was an argument between Chris and my nephew Richard. I told Chris to go cool off and we went to go the 7-11 to get a Slurpee.”
“When we got back we could see Chris outside. He said he was alright. I had to go make a run somewhere else, and he said he was going to go to a friend’s house. Then no more than five minutes later we got a text from Chris that the two guys who shot at him and Tony were in Hudson Court. We live around the corner. It seemed like the guys were over there looking for him. We turned around to go back to Hudson Court to park and to see if we knew who the guys were and my nephew [Ludlow] yelled ‘somebody’s running up on the car’ and without hesitation Tony shot out the window a warning shot to get them to back up. He wasn’t intentionally trying to shoot anyone. We didn’t know anyone was shot until 10 and a half hours, later, the next day,” Saunders explained.
“After my husband shot the gun, my nephew just drove off. Guns aren’t supposed to be around my husband. The gun that was left in the car was Chris’ gun,” she added.
When asked if they had heard Chris cry out, Saunders replied “No. No. Nothing. We didn’t hear anybody. Chris was supposed to be in the house with his friend.”
The friend lived on Hudson Court.
“We were driving and we saw the police coming down the street, no sirens, nothing.
My nephew didn’t have his lights on. We were told that the police were going to pull us over for a traffic stop.
But, my nephew got a little nervous and he panicked because there was a gun in the car.”
“It made it look really bad,” she stated. “So, when the police got behind us, it seemed like they were after us. He ran a red light and then it went from there. It was a high-speed chase.”
That ended on Mahogany Way, where Ludlow crashed the car into the garage of a house in the 1700 block of Mahogany Way, and the three were arrested by Antioch Police.
The case is still under investigation by the police. The original articles on this case can be viewed here and here.