UPDATE: Vickney's half-brother, football associates share memories
UPDATE: It started with a 911 call that sent detectives working throughout the night and ended before 6 a.m. with a 20-year-old Rocklin resident sitting the back of a patrol car, waiting to be booked on murder.
Rocklin’s first homicide investigation in six years began just after 10 p.m. Saturday, when emergency responders learned of a stabbing on the 6200 block of Swan Court. Rocklin police arrived to find 51-year-old Robert Earl Vickney Jr. severely bleeding from a chest wound inside his house. Paramedics rushed Vickney to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he died a short time later.
Rocklin police detectives interviewed witnesses and locked down the crime scene. According to Rocklin Police Captain Lon Milka, investigators learned that Vickney had gotten into a verbal altercation with 20-year-old Rocklin resident Zachary Raymond Kachmar. Vickney was reportedly hosting a party at the time, though details of its size and scope have been vague so far.
“At some point the confrontation between them got physical, and the suspect went for his knife,” Milka said. “He didn’t grab a kitchen knife or anything like that. He had a folding knife that he apparently carried around with him. That’s what he used.”
Within hours, Rocklin police detectives obtained enough witness statements and evidence from the scene to obtain a Ramey warrant for Kachmar’s arrest. Ramey warrants are arrest orders for someone inside their home issued prior to a district attorney’s office making a criminal complaint against the suspect.
Around 5:45 a.m. Sunday, Rocklin police arrived at Kachmar’s house on High Pines Court and took him into custody. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office began reviewing the evidence against Kachmar on Monday and and released him from custody on Tuesday, as the investigation had yet to decide the charges against him. He faces an arraignment on July 29, pending further investigation.
On Tuesday morning, Vickney’s half-brother, also named Bob Vickney, shared from Wisconsin some details about his half-brother, who he did not share a childhood with but reconnected with in the 1970s and later the 1990s.
“When a person has the same name as you, you want to be close to them,” he said.
Bob Vickney described his half-brother as “a real personable fellow, confident, athletic,” a divorced man who had made a successful career as a salesman. The two families visited back and forth, and Bob Vickney was there when his half-brother, who had played football at Chico State University, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“He was tickled to have a big brother,” said Bob Vickney, who has two sisters. “I was tickled to have a brother at all.”
Vickney Jr.'s affinity for football continued into his adult life, and he coached the sport for Sierra Christian High School in Rocklin. Roseville resident Ben Douglas, once a linebacker on the team, remembered Vickney as "high-strung" but "very passionate about football."
“Everybody loved him," Douglas said. "He was very structure-oriented on the football field. He was very disciplined, as far as how he operated things.”
Douglas' father, Jeff, only knew Vickney as a coach but said he seemed well-liked by players on the team.
“Coach Vickney was a really strong, aggressive defensive football coach when Ben was at Sierra Christian High School,” he said.
Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence said the tragedy represents a rare violation of the city's status quo.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family in the aftermath of this unfortunate event,” he said. “Rocklin has always been a safe community. This is the first homicide we’ve had in six years, and is by no means a reflection of the many great people who call Rocklin home.”
Lawrence added that, similar to Rocklin’s last murder investigation in 2007, the case his detectives are building against Kachmar involves an instance of two acquaintances — not strangers — getting into a fight.
“The last Rocklin homicide we investigated in 2007 was also the result of a physical altercation at a local bar,” Lawrence noted.