Skip to main content

Ex-paramedic died by suicide after killing 1, injuring 1 in Pacifica stabbing

A San Mateo County Sheriff deputy on September 13, 2010 in San Bruno, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Law enforcement is investigating a fatal stabbing in a Pacifica home Thursday morning, while a nearby elementary school has locked down. | Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The man who was fatally stabbed at a Pacifica home Thursday morning in an altercation involving his girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend has been identified.

Ezra Pouech, a 30-year-old Oakland resident, was identified as the victim of a stabbing in Pacifica, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office confirmed to The Standard Saturday morning. On Thursday, Jason Gillenwater died by suicide after police in Mendocino County pulled him over on Highway 101; he was suspected of injuring his former partner and killing Pouech.

The Pacifica Police Department said officers responded to a report of domestic violence at around 7:45 a.m. Thursday and found a man and a woman at a home on Naomi Avenue near Reina Del Mar Avenue.

Medical aid was administered, but Pouech died on the scene while the woman was transported to a hospital. The suspect was seen leaving the home on foot, police said.

a street lined with a single palm tree
Pacifica Police Department responded to a report of domestic violence at around 7:45 a.m. at a home on Naomi Avenue near Reina Del Mar Avenue. | Source: Google Street View

At about 1:40 p.m., police in Ukiah spotted a vehicle matching the suspect's description on southbound Highway 101 at Perkins Street, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Matt Werle told The Standard.

CHP provided backup for Ukiah police as they conducted a traffic stop, Werle said. The suspect then pulled over, opened his car door and took his own life.

Werle said officers drew their weapons because the suspect was armed with a gun, but they did not fire their weapons.

The suspect, identified as Jason Gillenwater, was arrested by Pacifica police last week in a domestic violence incident involving his former partner, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe.

Wagstaffe told The Standard that Gillenwater bailed out of jail and had not yet been charged in that incident. However, an emergency protective order was issued and his firearms were seized, the District Attorney said.

"He attacked our two victims—a man and a woman—using a knife," Wagstaffe said, "We don't know where the gun came from. That will be part of the investigation for the police."

Gillenwater previously worked part-time for the ambulance company American Medical Response. In a statement provided to The Standard, a spokesperson for AMR said the company was aware that he was "connected to serious charges unrelated to his employment."

"We are working closely with local law officials and do not comment on ongoing investigations," the spokesperson said.

During the Thursday morning incident in Pacifica, Vallemar Elementary School, at 377 Reina del Mar Ave., was placed on lockdown out of caution. There were no reports of any injuries at the campus, which is part of the Pacifica School District. The lockdown was still in effect at 10:10 a.m., according to a district staffer who answered a phone call Thursday.

A school staffer reached at 12:06 p.m. deferred to police when asked if the lockdown was still in effect.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said there were three victims in total; according to the San Mateo Sheriff's Office, this story has been updated with information from local police, which says there are two victims.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call or text "988" any time day or night to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or chat online.

George Kelly can be reached at
Stephanie K. Baer can be reached at