Orinda robbery victim: 'I thought it was a prank'

A woman was shot in Orinda, and her husband was beaten, while they were robbed outside their home Monday night by two men in Halloween masks.

Tom Spalding, who was left with a wound to his head, said, "I thought they were my son and his buddy doing a pre-Halloween prank on us. Then I saw the guns and the guy said give it up and I reached in my hand pocket, pulled out my wallet, gave it to him. He hit me in the head. Meanwhile, Carol still thought it was a joke and was fighting to keep her purse... so they guy shot her twice."

The robbery occurred after Spalding's wife, Carol Brown, picked him up at the Orinda BART Station.

They then went to Safeway, before going home, near Claremont Avenue and Camino Pablo Road.

The couple told police, they were unloading groceries at their driveway, when two African-American men, wearing the Halloween masks, attacked them.

They took the Spalding's wallet, and hit him with their gun. They then shot Brown and ran away. She was shot once in the pelvis and once in the upper arm. She was taken to John Muir Medical Center. She will be recovering for three to six months, according to Spaulding.

Brown is on the Orinda School Board.

The school district sent out the following statement:

"Dear OUSD Community,

I have difficult news to share with you. Yesterday evening, OUSD Board Member Carol Brown and her husband returned home from grocery shopping and were robbed and assaulted by two perpetrators in their driveway on Claremont Avenue. Carol was shot twice, but thankfully is being treated and is in stable condition at an area hospital. Her husband was struck on the forehead with a gun. He was treated and released.

Though this incident was not connected to our schools, I have been in communication with Orinda Chief of Police Mark Nagel and have offered any assistance the District can provide with the ongoing investigation. Out of an abundance of caution, I have asked Chief Nagel to increase patrols of the area in and around Wagner Ranch Elementary School.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol Brown and her family.


Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Orinda Union School District"