SPOKANE, Wash. -- It was November of 2014. Twenty-six-year-old Zachary Lamb was driving his pregnant fiancé home after a night out together. Many believe during that short drive, they encountered the ultimate evil following some sort of road rage incident.
The couple tried to get away from the suspect, but he followed them home. Zachary was shot to death moments after stepping out of their vehicle. The killer fired three shots. Two hit Zach. His pregnant fiancé was not injured.
Zach's mother, Julie Knapp says her family is very close. It's always been very important to her that they end every conversation with an "I love you." Now, she's so grateful for that.
"That was his last text to me," she said. "It was, 'thanks, I love you mom.'"
It's a text that would provide a rare comfort, peace even, in those dark days turned years after Zach was murdered.
"(I read it) daily, several times a day for years," she said.
Life wasn't always easy for Zach. He'd gotten into a little trouble in his younger years. Loved ones say he struggled to find out who he was. But then life just seem to click into place. Zach hit his stride.
"He had everything together," his mother said. "He had just gotten a promotion, a raise, he was engaged, he was going to be a father. We didn't even know yet. He was going to tell us on Thanksgiving."
But instead of planning a baby shower, Zach's many loved ones were forced to plan a funeral instead.
Based on what witnesses have said, Julie believes the murder happened after a road rage incident. She said the couple had taken the car in for issues with the accelerator. She said it would suddenly speed up and then slow down. She believes this might have provoked someone who was capable of cold blooded murder.
"I know they were having trouble with their car," she said. "It would race occasionally, maybe they got behind somebody and they heard the engine. For whatever reason, they thought Zach had done something. Who knows what. And followed him home."
Julie says her son tried to get whatever was wrong with the car, fixed. He thought he had.
Witnesses reported hearing the killer scream at Zach. His fiancé was in the car too. All involved feel confident, the couple didn't know Zach's killer.
"The guy was just screaming at them, the neighbors heard it, just screaming," she said. "He was trying to get him to come out. He used the 'N word' and that's what really set Zach off."
Witnesses told police as soon as Zach got out of the car, bullets were flying.
"He probably thought it was just going to be a screaming match or a fist fight, nothing like what happened," Julie said.
Because what happened was more like an ambush style execution. Zach was shot at three times. Two of the bullets hit him.
Neighbors rushed to help, but the killer was long gone. Because it all happened to fast, and that night was so dark, it would seem so were the odds of catching who did this.
"All we know is it was a man in his 40's with a scruffy beard and a gravelly voice," Julie said.
The killer was also driving a dark colored SUV. But that's it. That's all police have to work with.
The family can't help but hope whoever did this, is haunted by it.
"I can't believe someone would be so cold that they could shoot somebody like that and never think about it again," she said. "No matter who it is."
Zach had no known enemies. He wasn't into drugs or gangs. The family said police found nothing unusual on security footage from the couple's night out. Zach was a fun loving guy. He was so excited about the future his killer took from him.
"(The killer) just needs to be stopped," she said. "He needs to turn himself in. Whoever knows, needs to turn him in."
The family's friend Lindy Bousted recently created a podcast about everything she's learned about the case. She spoke with investigators, family, and more. For more on that, click: http://asenselessdeath.com/