Posted on GlockTalk Masked intruder was killer's ex-employee Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer Saturday, March 4, 2006 The black-clad intruder shot to death in the Healdsburg home of a retired Indian casino executive this week was the former chief financial officer of the same gaming tribe, authorities said Friday. Police said David Edward Ferguson, 48, of San Diego used to work for the man who shot him dead Monday morning, 68-year-old Louis J. Phillips. Phillips was the chief executive officer of Viejas Enterprises in Alpine (San Diego County) and fired Ferguson as chief financial officer about six years ago, authorities said. Ferguson, who was carrying no identification, jumped Phillips' wife, Sandra, when she went outside the couple's home at 7:30 a.m. Monday, police said. She ran into the house, pursued by her assailant -- who was wearing dark clothes and a ninja-style mask -- and her screams awakened her husband. Louis Phillips grabbed his .357 Magnum revolver from his nightstand, sneaked up behind the intruder and fired three shots, killing him. When police examined Ferguson's body, they found he was carrying a folding knife and a P23 Gamo brand BB handgun, which resembles a Walther PPK, a favorite pistol among police officers. He also was carrying a piece of yellow rope, duct tape, handcuffs and a blindfold. Six strips of duct tape -- each about 6 inches long -- were taped inside his jacket for ready use. He also had a couple of raw hot dogs in his pockets. ..................... Another set of restraints, canvas tarps and other items were found in his backpack by the Phillipses' garbage cans, where Ferguson had apparently lain in wait. Ironically, police said it had been Ferguson who requested that Phillips be brought in to help manage the casinos owned by the Viejas tribe of Kumuwaay Indians, which runs one of California's most successful tribal gaming operations. Ferguson was a former student of Phillips' at the University of Nevada at Reno, where Phillips taught gaming management in the 1990s after retiring as president and chief executive officer of Harrah's northern Nevada operations. Healdsburg Police Chief Susan Jones said that Phillips had fired Ferguson because of "his attitude and personality. ... He wasn't getting along with people and was destroying morale in the office area. People had difficulty working with him." Investigators were able to track down Ferguson's identity in part because he was previously named a suspect in a bizarre incident in September in which an unidentified man delivered flowers to the Phillips home. The Phillipses told police at that time that someone had called a week before, saying that he had flowers to deliver and asking them to confirm their address. When the delivery man arrived, Chief Jones said, "He had a baseball cap pulled way down low. They said they really couldn't see his face. ... The flowers looked like they were hand-picked from someone's yard and wrapped in a paper towel." Phillips later told police there was something familiar about the look and manner of the delivery man: He resembled Ferguson, his former student and ex-employee. Ferguson -- 6-foot-3 with a medium build and close-cropped hair -- also was pulled over by police in November for going through a stop sign in downtown Healdsburg. Police were able with the help of the state Department of Justice to match fingerprints from the corpse with Ferguson's fingerprints on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Police also determined that a photograph of the cleaned-up corpse appeared to match Ferguson's driver's license photo from several years ago. Ferguson does not appear to have a criminal record, other than a 1997 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. For the past six months, he had been living with his parents in San Diego. He appears to have been single. "Our detectives are still in San Diego talking with his parents," Jones said, "and we're trying to figure what could have fueled this hate thing he had for the Phillipses, for Lou. ... We don't know whether he's had trouble since being fired getting a job, and that's what was getting him down. We don't know whether he was having mental problems or issues with anger." Ferguson's father, Jack Ferguson, said Friday night, "I don't wish to comment on that until the detectives and district attorney have made a final determination. This is not the time for me to make a statement." David Ferguson left San Diego on Feb. 18, borrowing $1,800 from his parents as well as their 1996 white Mercury Marquis sedan. "He said he was going up north to do a job, get a job or find a job," the chief said. Police said that Ferguson's car was found late Friday near downtown Healdsburg, about a mile from the Phillips home. "We're still trying to make sense of it," Jones said. "I think we're getting closer to a motive, as far as a possible disgruntled employee from years ago who came here to do something. I think he clearly came here to do some type of harm. We just don't know what."