Redding transient arrested after brutal slaying of Taco Bell employee – Confesses to second stabbing

REDDING, Calif., — A local transient who authorities say was responsible for the “brutal and unprovoked” murder of a Taco Bell employee on Monday evening was arrested yesterday morning after being found hiding at a Redding homeless encampment.

In addition to confessing to this week’s murder, the alleged suspect, 55-year-old Brent Ray Close, also confessed to a second stabbing, which happened last October at the Turtle Bay boat docks, according to officials.


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Earlier this week, the Shasta County Coroner’s Office identified 29-year-old, Kevin James Richard Wrenne, of Redding, as the Taco Bell employee who was fatally stabbed outside his place of employment.

Shortly before 10 p.m. on the night of the fatal stabbing, Wrenne was working his shift when he went to the parking lot area to take a ten-minute break, according to Redding Police Sergeant Jon Sheldon, who earlier this week said, “While on break, Wrenne was brutally attacked without provocation by an unidentified subject.”

55-year-old Brent Ray Close has been arrested for the “brutal and unprovoked” fatal stabbing of 29-year-old Taco Bell employee Kevin James Richard Wrenne, while the victim was taking a ten-minute break outside the fast-food restaurant. Redding PD photo

In the wake of the bloody murder, officials released details about the suspect, including a photo of the bike he reportedly left behind when he fled the scene. A $5,000 reward for information was also mentioned in the department’s plea for information about the man responsible.

As their investigation continued, officials began gathering information and developing leads that ultimately led them to identifying Close, leading detectives to seek and obtain an arrest warrant charging him with Wrenne’s murder.

At around 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning, March 30, officers with the Department’s Special Services Unit were searching for Close when they spotted him in a homeless encampment adjacent to the Redding Convention Center.

He was taken into custody without incident, according to Sheldon, who did not mention if the reward offered for information played a part in Close’s swift apprehension.

SEE RELATED ORIGINAL STORY: Stabbed multiple times at Redding Taco Bell, victim dies – Search for suspect continuing

During a subsequent interview, Close confessed to Wrenne’s murder, but did not offer any motive for the “brutal and unprovoked attack”, according to Sheldon, who said, “While being interviewed, Close also confessed to a separate stabbing which occurred on October 12, 2021, near the Turtle Bay Boat Launch.”

Close was later booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of murder. He will also be charged with assault with a deadly weapon and an associated enhancement of causing great bodily injury related to the 2021 boat launch stabbing.

Online jail records show he remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail or bond.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.