Rancho Cordova residents are still shaking their heads over the murder of Cordova Recreation and Park District Superintendent Steve Ebert.
"For somebody to shoot somebody because you were laid off is not right," said Ray Bullock, who frequents Hagan Park with his son.
Ebert was found shot to death in his SUV in the park near the District's offices. Maintenance worker Dupree Barber was arrested for his murder. He was one of 18 employees laid off because of a massive budget shortfall, but some say that's not the sole reason he may have resorted to violence.
"I think there are extenuating circumstances that lead in to something like this," said clinical psychologist John A. Foster.
It turns out that Barber filed a discrimination lawsuit against Ebert and the district claiming he was harassed and lost promotions because he was African American.
That suit was settled, but whether that satisfied Barber isn't known. Court papers say the two almost came to blows and that Barber took a 17-day leave of absence due to stress. The District denied the accusations. Whether they were true or not, it may have led to Barber's resentment after he was laid off two weeks ago.
"Seeing yourself as a victim becomes a spiral downward. Then you start looking for other reasons I'm a victim and creates agitation and frustration," said Foster.
He says thousands of people have been laid off in the area in recent years without acting violently, and that a network of friends and family can help people through the frustration of long periods of unemployment.
Barber's neighbors say he was anti-social and a loner.
Foster has counseled many laid-off workers. He says losing a job suddenly is stressful and can lead to the breakup of marriages, sleep problems, anger and withdrawal.
He says you can't dwell in the past and have to look to the future with optimism, admittedly a tough task in a bad economy.
"It's a matter of challenges. How do I look and find those opportunities or how do I make the best of the situation," said Foster.