New evidence in Redding crime spree leads to officer-involved shootings

Redding police investigators have been busy since Christmas Eve gathering details about a crime spree involving a single woman and her fatal shooting by an officer.

“We are still actively rebuilding everything on this timeline that we have from the first event to the shooting itself,” Lt. Levi Solada said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Shasta County Coroner’s Office identified the woman who was shot and killed by police as Tara Rae Liubakka, 39, of Redding..

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There is a lot of evidence to gather when the police learned of another stop Liubakka made at the series of events on the night of December 24.

Between a carjacking around 7 p.m. at Domino’s Pizza on East Cypress Avenue and crashing the car into Walmart, Liubakka tried to ram the front of Olde West Gun & Loan on North Market Street, Solada said.

The parking lot at Redding Walmart is empty on Friday, December 25, 2020, as the store was temporarily closed.  Police said a driver crashed in front of the store and toured the cashier area Thursday night.  The vehicle matched the description of a previous carjacking.  Subsequently, an officer shot and killed a suspect.  Walmart had reopened on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

Police did not learn of the new incident until the morning of December 26 when they received a call from the pawnshop about the damage to their building.

“(Olde West) started looking at his surveillance footage and saw this vehicle hit the front of his building on Christmas Eve,” Solada said. “We had an officer go to her business, he took the video, looked at everything and we were able to confirm that it was the same vehicle that she had hijacked.”

The start of the police chronology shows Liubakka apparently shooting and wounding a man near Irwin Road in East Redding. The man suffered two gunshot wounds and was treated at a local hospital.

A woman was killed in a shooting involving an officer following a series of crimes that included a shooting, a carjacking and driving to Walmart on Christmas Eve 2020.

Officers said at the time that a suspected woman had made statements about her involvement in the shooting and said she would shoot more people.

Solada was going to check the radio traffic that night to add it to the timeline.

“I understand that we did have information from her directly and that it could have been from an officer who spoke to her on the phone,” Solada said. “I’m not exactly sure about that.”

Solada said Liubakka stole a compact SUV near Domino’s before going to Olde West and then Walmart.

Pallets block the entrance to Redding Walmart on Friday, December 25, 2020, after a driver crashed in front of the store the night before on Thursday, December 24, 2020. The store reopened on Saturday.

“He drove to Walmart, where he crashed into Walmart’s front doors and drove into the store,” Solada said. “From there it went to Browning Street and Old Heights Road, where officers found the abandoned vehicle.”

Officers found the empty van near an apartment complex and then saw the woman running down Browning Street where she had two large knives, one in each hand.

The woman turned during a foot chase in the direction of the officer and the officer fired his gun at her, police said last week. Liubakka received medical assistance and was taken to Mercy, where she was pronounced dead.

“He was approaching the officer with the knives very close,” said the lieutenant.

A woman was killed in a shooting involving an officer following a series of crimes that included a shooting, a carjacking and driving to Walmart on Christmas Eve 2020.

Solada was not ready Wednesday to name the officer who shot Liubakka dead.

“Let’s wait a little longer on that,” he said.

Investigators were also looking into the woman’s criminal records.

A check of Shasta County court records did not reveal any previous violent charges against him.

In November 2010, Liubakka was charged with several counts of theft crimes. Over time, the felony of burglary and petty theft was declared unopposed. She also pleaded not guilty to two counts of identity theft-related charges and was sentenced to 120 days.

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She was charged with violating an unspecified court order in mid-July 2019, but the charge was dropped.

What is unclear is the motive behind the woman’s strange fuss on Christmas Eve.

“We still don’t know why. That is the million dollar question. We are still trying to answer all of those questions,” Solada said. “Sometimes facts are stranger than fiction, right?”

Investigators are asking the public to contact them at 530-225-4200 if they witnessed any of the events or if they can share more about what happened.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office are also involved in the investigation as it was a shooting involving an officer.

Record Searchlight reporter Matt Brannon contributed to this report.

Mike Chapman is a reporter and photographer for Record Searchlight in Redding, California. His journalistic career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Washington. Follow him on Twitter @mikechapman_RS. Subscribe today!

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