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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Homeless Count Postponed

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 3:47 PM

A camp in one of Humboldt County's greenbelts. - FILE
  • File
  • A camp in one of Humboldt County's greenbelts.
This year’s biennial Point-in-Time count will be postponed one month in order to recruit more volunteers to assist the homeless count.

The count, scheduled to take place at the end of January, will be pushed back to the early morning hours of Feb. 28.

Every year the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to take count of people living in emergency shelter or transitional housing. The last count, conducted in 2015, found 1,319 people to be homeless in Humboldt County, up 265 from two years prior.

This year, volunteers will receive required training from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to assist in the count. Volunteers will be asked to go to areas throughout the local communities where homeless people are known to be and take a headcount.

Sally Hewitt, senior program manager and co-chair of the Humboldt and Homeless Coalition, said pushing the date back will give organizers time to recruit more volunteers, including Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods students.

“Participating in the count is also a great opportunity for students looking to volunteer and get some experience doing outreach to the homeless community,” Hewitt said in a press release.

The information gathered during the count will go to local planners and nonprofit agencies in order to receive grant funding. At the end of the year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will award agencies a total of $822,933 in homeless assist funds for 2017.

The Arcata House Partnership will act as a volunteer hub in assisting this years Point-in-Count. Darlene Spoor, Executive Director of Arcata House Partnership, said the date was pushed back in order to create a better survey and help volunteers become better prepared.

For more information about the Point-in-Time homeless count, or if you are interesting in volunteering, contact Wendy Choate, secretary at the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, at 441-5520.


See the full DHHS press release copied below:

Volunteers still needed for Point-in-Time count


This year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count has been postponed by one month as recruitment for volunteers continues. Originally scheduled for the end of January, the PIT count will now take place in the early-morning hours of Feb. 28.

“Pushing the date back gives us time to recruit more volunteers, including students from Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods who have been very helpful with the counts in years past,” said Sally Hewitt, DHHS senior program manager and co-chair of the Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition (HHHC). “Participating in the count is also a great opportunity for students looking to volunteer and get some experience doing outreach to the homeless community.”

Volunteers attend training so they’re ready to assist in the biennial count, which is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Information gathered during the count is used by local planners and nonprofit agencies in applications for grant funding.

At the end of the year, HUD awarded participating HHHC agencies a total of $822,933 in homeless assistance funds for use in 2017.
For more information about the PIT or to volunteer, contact DHHS Secretary Wendy Choate at 707-441-5520. Information is also available at the HHHC’s website humboldthousing.org.






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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Little Free Libraries: Giving the Gift of Giving Year Round

Posted By on Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 2:18 PM

The Little Free Library in Old Town Coffee and Chocolates, started by Journal contributors Barry Evans and Louisa Rogers. From left to right: Rebecca Kalal, Barry Evans, Gail Mentink and Gil Yule. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The Little Free Library in Old Town Coffee and Chocolates, started by Journal contributors Barry Evans and Louisa Rogers. From left to right: Rebecca Kalal, Barry Evans, Gail Mentink and Gil Yule.

If you’re fond of walking down random byways, chances are you’ve stopped to take a second look at one of these charming little boxes, which look a bit like glass-fronted bird houses, perched above fences and bearing plaques with their official charter numbers. Little Free Libraries, a nonprofit organization that started in Wisconsin, sells these tiny little houses for neighborhood book exchanges pre-built on their website. Crafty folks can also build their own. The book exchanges offer neighbors the opportunity to take and leave books. Unsurprisingly, Humboldt County has taken to the idea in a big way. For this season of giving, we interviewed some of the folks who started their own Little Free Libraries about why they decided to set up these kiosks, and what the experience has been like.

Kate Carignan
Library location: 2940 Fortune Street, McKinleyville.

“My little free library is right in the front yard next to the sidewalk. I heard about them online and told my three children that’s what I wanted for Christmas two years ago. My son put it up; it has been very popular. I’m surprised there aren’t more around.”

According to www.littlefreelibrary.org, Carignon’s library is one of two in McKinleyville. It’s right next to the Hammond Trail, and Carignon says it’s very popular with local children and hikers. “People who are on their bicycles sometimes turn around," she says. Although the library is just in front of her house, nobody has ever bothered her at home. People do, however, often stop her in the grocery store and thank her, she says.

“I always need more children’s books,” she says. "I try to go out three times a week. People give me books to put in and I go to library book sales. It’s just fun to see what people like. Hikers mostly like science fiction, I noticed.”

If you are looking for a late Christmas or Hanukkah gift, take note. Carignon says the Little Free Library, which came pre-assembled, was one of her “all-time best gifts” from her children.

Ken Suiker
Library location: 1988 Huckleberry Court, Eureka


“I get this magazine called The Family Handyman, and on the cover they had plans for a little free library. They had instructions on how to build it. That was basically it.”

Suiker, who built his library out of plywood and pine with a roof of corrugated tin, says he has had several conversations with library patrons since he put it up several months ago.

“I’ve talked to people who said they go from little free library to little free library. Sometimes I put little puzzles and games in there.”

Elan Firpo
Library location: 1926 Williams St., Eureka

“My daughter found some of them around town and she really liked them,” says the local lawyer and former candidate for District Attorney. “She wanted to drive around and drop off books, then decided to start our own.”

Firpo’s father built the house partially out of salvaged redwood, with a roofline to match that of their house.
“We get a lot of traffic,” says Firpo. “We have a notebook where people leave us notes. People say thank you, write requests. We keep dog biscuits because a lot of people walk by with their dogs. The biggest demands are children’s books, and the hardest books to keep in it are children’s books.”

Firpo’s daughter, who is 17, also labels the books so they look like library books, and checks it daily.

Library Location: Ferndale Fairgrounds

“We have 67 campsites on the fairgrounds,” says Lisa Hindley, office manager for the Ferndale Fairgrounds. “We get a lot of people in here, a lot of the RVers and campers like to read. It’s actually been pretty successful."

Barry Evans, Louisa Rogers and Gil Yule
Library Location: Old Town Coffee and Chocolates, Old Town, Eureka


Little Free Library #15424 was previously located in the entrance alcove of the Redwood Curtain Theatre on Snug Alley. After a long run with books coming and going regularly, the entire stock began to disappear during the wee hours of the night, hence the relocation to a safer home.

Barry Evans, who is currently in warmer climes along with his wife and co-contributor Louisa Rogers, might want you to check out his 2009 article about the science of the Christmas story as well as checking out some free books.



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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mills: Suspect Pointed Gun at Officer Before Being Shot

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 2:55 PM

The bullet-riddled Mazda 3 Clayton Lasinski allegedly stole from Sole Savers. - EPD
  • EPD
  • The bullet-riddled Mazda 3 Clayton Lasinski allegedly stole from Sole Savers.

The 26-year-old Garberville man wounded in a Dec. 6 officer-involved shooting pointed his handgun at an officer before police opened fire, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills said at a press conference today.

Mills spent about 35 minutes walking media through the traffic stop, foot pursuit and ensuing shooting that transpired over 12 tense minutes shortly before 5 p.m. on Dec. 6 and ended when the wounded suspect, Clayton Lee Lasinski, collapsed to the ground on Fifth Street.

During the pursuit, Mills said officers fired a total of 42 rounds — not 44 as sources previously told the Journal — one of which struck Lasinski in the chest and 25 of which struck the Mazda 3 he was allegedly attempting to flee the scene in. Mills said investigators have determined that 14 bullets hit other objects — walls, vehicles and a fence — and that three remain unaccounted for.

Mills said three of the officers involved — officers Steven Linfoot and Dustin Nantz, and senior detective Ron Harpham — have been psychologically evaluated and cleared to return to duty, with Harpham already back in the field and the other two returning to active duty tomorrow. The fourth officer who fired his weapon during the incident — Abraham Jansen — is away on a previously scheduled vacation and has yet to undergo the psych evaluation, Mills said, offering no timetable for the officer’s return to the field.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Betty Chinn Nominated for Californian of the Year By New York Times

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 10:40 AM

Betty Chinn - FILE
  • File
  • Betty Chinn

Fans of Eureka's tireless advocate for the homeless, Betty Chinn, will have their opportunity to cast their vote on her behalf today. Chinn, who has dedicated the past two decades to feeding and helping the homeless in Eureka, is one of the New York Times' 10 nominees for the Californian of the Year.

The nomination came after the Times' California bureau asked readers to send in suggestions for people in our state who "made an impact in [their] community or on a larger stage ... who defined 2016." They chose candidates who had received multiple nominations.

Californians have the opportunity to vote for a winner today, with Chinn in the company of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and business magnate Elon Musk.

"That's crazy," said Chinn, laughing, when we reached her by phone this morning. "I had no idea."

Chinn said being among the nominees was an "honor" but added, "I never read newspapers."

Vote for Chinn or other nominees using the link found here and read more about Chinn's work here.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Communication Failure Leaves School in Lurch Following Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 3:46 PM

cover-badge_.jpg
A shooting in Southern Humboldt last week has left a school district and the sheriff’s office both looking for better lines of communication.

The shooting occurred in Redway shortly before 2 p.m. on Dec. 13, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene to a report of a gunshot victim lying along Whitmore Avenue (the victim survived). By the time they arrived, the suspects had fled the scene in a gray pickup truck. A search of the area came up empty.

The problem is that Redway Elementary School, just a few blocks away, didn’t receive word of the shooting until students were boarding school buses to head home and alarmed parents were calling the office. The apparent lack of communication was a concern for district parents, some of whom called the school in the ensuing hours to criticize administrators for not putting the campus on lockdown or doing more to protect children.

The issue bubbled up so quickly that Southern Humboldt Unified School District Superintendent Catherine Scott penned a letter the following day to all district parents and guardians, offering a timeline detailing the afternoon from the school’s perspective. The timeline notes that school officials were never contacted by the Sheriff’s Office, despite trying diligently to get more information after learning of the shooting nearby. It would be more than an hour — filled with decisions about whether to allow students to walk home, whether to cancel basketball practice, whether to lockdown the afterschool program and whether to allow junior high and high school students to unload from their buses in Redway — before a district official finally got someone from the Sheriff’s Office on the phone.

Reached a few days after the incident, Scott said she was working on setting up a meeting with the sheriff or the undersheriff to discuss the district’s frustrations. She said the incident is an example of a larger problem but underscores the need for better communication.

“It’s really just a symptom of the inadequate services the sheriff is able to offer Southern Humboldt and that’s an ongoing issue,” she said. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for law enforcement and I’m not trying to criticize them, but I have a responsibility to make sure my schools are safe. So if we need to improve communication, we need to improve communication.”

Scott made clear she wants to hear about any violent incident near one of her campuses that could pose a threat to student safety, and quickly. “I would rather be safe than sorry. Always,” she said.

Reached on Monday, Sheriff Mike Downey agreed that communication could have and should have been better. But Downey said dispatchers did try to call the school office numerous times within 20 or so minutes of the shooting, but repeatedly got a busy signal. Further, he said the fact that deputies were confident the suspects had fled the area in a vehicle meant a more robust school response wasn’t necessary.

“If we feel someone’s in danger, or a school district especially, we’ll go in there and tell them they need to lock down,” he said. “But in this case, based on the information we had, there was no danger to the school at that point.”

Moving forward, Downey said his department we’ll look at putting together a master list of points of contact for each school in Humboldt County so if a critical incident occurs nearby, dispatchers aren’t forced to simply call a school’s main office, which are often understaffed and receive high call volumes at certain times of the day.

See the full text of Scott’s letter by clicking here.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

UPDATED: Five Arrests in Manila Homicide

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 2:34 PM

Claros - FACEBOOK
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  • Claros
4th UPDATE:

The last two suspects in the shooting death of Tyson Claros, 20, turned themselves in to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday evening.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, Hector Godoy-Standley and Catherine Fode are each being held on $1 million bail. Three other suspects were previously arrested in the case.

Claros was shot in Manila on Dec. 12 along Highway 255 between the south end of Peninsula Drive and Pacific Avenue. The investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff's office.

Read the full Humboldt County Sheriff's Office release below:
On Sunday, December 18, 2016 at approximately 9:40 p.m. Hector Godoy-Standley and Catherine Fode, who are both wanted for last week’s murder of Tyson Claros, turned themselves in to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Both Godoy-Standley and Fode were arrested without incident, and were booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for the charge of PC 187/homicide. Their bail was set at $1,000,000 each.
The investigation of Tyson Claros’ murder is still currently ongoing. If anyone has information in regards to this homicide investigation, please contact Investigator Fulton at (707) 268-3646 or the non-emergency phone number for the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251.

3rd UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating Hector Godoy-Standley, 21, and Catherine Suzanne Lynn Fode, 18, who are currently wanted in connection with the homicide in Manila earlier this week.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Godoy-Standley  and Fode, a Friday release from the sheriff’s office states.

Brandon James Mitchell, 22, a fifth suspect in the shooting death of Tyson Claros, 20, turned himself into law enforcement on Thursday after finding out he was wanted, according to the sheriff’s office.

Two other suspects, Cesar Octavio Valenzuela-Campos and Tamara Nicole Thomson, were arrested Dec. 12.

Read the full Humboldt County Sheriff's Office release below:
Fode - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Fode
Godoy-Standley - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Godoy-Standley



On December 12th, 20 year old Tyson Claros was murdered in
the Manila area. Through the course of the investigation, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Investigators determined there were five suspects involved in the murder of Tyson Claros. Three of the five suspects have been arrested. Two suspects, Cesar OctavioValenzuela-Campos and Tamara Nicole Thomson, were arrested the day of the homicide. The third suspect, 22 year old Brandon James Mitchell turned himself in to Investigators on Thursday, December 15th after learning he was wanted by law enforcement.
21 year old Hector Godoy-Standley and 18 year old Catherine Suzanne Lynn Fode are currently still wanted for the murder of Claros and warrants have been issued for their arrest. The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Godoy-Standley and Fode.
The investigation is currently ongoing. If anyone has information in regards to this homicide investigation, please contact Investigator Fulton at (707) 268-3646 or the non-emergency phone number for the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251.
Mitchell - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Mitchell




2nd UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two suspects, 23-year old Cesar Octavio Valenzuela-C ampos and 18-year old Tamara Nicole Thomsen, in relation to the homicide of Tyson Claros. Both are being held at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, with bail set at $1 million each.





From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:


On Monday, December 12, 2016 at approximately 9:30 p.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies detained 23 year old Cesar Octavio Valenzuela-Campos at the Shell Station on Myrtle Ave at McFarlan St. in Eureka. Valenzuela-Campos was interviewed by Investigators and subsequently arrested for yesterday’s murder of 20 year old Tyson Claros. Valenzuela-Campos was booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) for murder and his bail was set at $1,000,000.

A short while later 18 year old Tamara Nicole Thomson was arrested at a residence in Eureka. The Humboldt County SWAT team assisted in the apprehension of Thomson. Thomson was booked at the HCCF for murder and an outstanding juvenile warrant. Her bail was set at $1,000,000.
Thomsen - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Thomsen

UPDATE: The HCSO has identified the victim as Tyson Claros. He was found on Hwy 255 between the south end of Peninsula Dr and Pacific Ave in Manila.

Previously:

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is seeking information about a 20-year old man who died this morning after being found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

The HCSO was originally called to the Manila area for reports of a possible armed robbery. The name of the victim, who was pronounced deceased at the hospital, has not yet been released.

The sheriff's office declined to release additional information — including the exact location where deputies found the victim and the circumstances surrounding the armed robbery report — at this time.

This is the 21st confirmed homicide in Humboldt County so far this year.

From the Humboldt County
Valenzuela-Campos - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Valenzuela-Campos
Sheriff's Office:

On Monday, December 12, 2016 at approximately 2:15 a.m. Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs responded to the Manila area for a report of a possible armed robbery. Deputies located a 20 year old male victim in the roadway of Hwy 255, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to a local hospital by medical personnel where he was pronounced deceased.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives are currently investigating the incident as a homicide. The investigation is currently ongoing.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call Investigator Fulton at 707-268-3646 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Teen Pedestrian Killed in Alleged DUI Crash

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 9:39 AM

chp-patch.gif
A teenage pedestrian was killed last night in McKinleyville when an allegedly drunk driver hit her shortly after 8 p.m.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the girl was was northbound on the east shoulder of Central Avenue, north of Anna Sparks Way, when James Arthur Merrick, of McKinleyville, allowed his 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 to drift off the roadway and onto the shoulder after turning onto Central Avenue. Merrick's vehicle struck her and continued eastbound on the shoulder until it ran into a light pole, after which Merrick allegedly attempted to flee the scene before being detained by several witnesses.

The pedestrian was transported to Mad River Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Merrick was arrested at the scene and alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the collision, according to CHP.

See the full CHP press release copied below:


Fatality Collision on Central Avenue

McKinleyville, California- On the evening of Wednesday, December 14th, one female teenage pedestrian sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a passing vehicle.

At approximately 8:07 p.m., James Arthur Merrick , of McKinleyville, was turning his 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 from eastbound Anna Sparks Way onto northbound Central Avenue. The juvenile pedestrian was walking northbound on the east shoulder of Central Avenue, north of Anna Sparks Way. For reasons still under investigation Mr. Merrick allowed his vehicle to drive off the roadway and onto the east shoulder of Central Avenue striking the juvenile pedestrian. The vehicle continued eastbound on the shoulder until it collided into a light pole. Merrick attempted to flee the scene of the collision but was detained by several witnesses until Law Enforcement arrived on scene. The juvenile pedestrian was transported to Mad River Community Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Merrick was placed under arrest and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in this traffic collision. The California Highway Patrol-Humboldt Area responded to the scene and is conducting the investigation.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dirty, Trashy Arcata

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Arcata Compost Revolution's sweet ride, preparing for a pick up. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Arcata Compost Revolution's sweet ride, preparing for a pick up.


This past week saw two major milestones for Arcata consumers. First, as of midnight on Friday, the independent Arcata Garbage Company officially passed into the hands of Recology Humboldt, which provides trash services for several other Humboldt cities. The parent company, Recology, has become a West Coast behemoth, with resource recovery companies in California, Oregon and Washington.

But Humboldt Recology Manager Linda Wise says virtually nothing will change for Arcata residents.

"People should be seeing the same service, same employees," says Wise, adding that Recology is an employee-owned company, and all Arcata Garbage employees will stay on. "Eventually, we’ll get a new website, logos on trucks and buildings. There will be no changes in any costs."

The change came about as longtime owner of Arcata Garbage Co., Rick Fusi, decided to retire. Fusi was interviewed for a 2012 Journal story about Humboldt's surprisingly dramatic recycling scene. That story can be found here.

But as trash goes corporate, there's a new indie business dealing in dirt. The newly-minted Arcata Compost Revolution, begun by avid Zero-Waster and Humboldt State University student Alec Howard, launched this week with three restaurant clients. The small business is community scale and uses an electric bike and cart to collect food scraps and compost, which it is pedaling  to local farms.

"We have plans to get more businesses on board this month," says Howard, who is moonlighting between classes and a job with the city of Arcata. Ultimately he hopes to employ students. "In 2017, we’re planning to expand to residential compost as well. A lot of people try to manage compost piles and don’t do that effectively. Some people run into the common issues associated with having compost piles; they have rats, don’t have the right materials, or amount of materials. Or they simply don’t have the time."

Howard argues that large-scale compost collection, which is offered in many major cities, can be problematic because of the carbon footprint of vehicles used to haul the material. In a recent analysis of Humboldt County's waste stream, Cascadia Consulting found that food waste is the heaviest material leaving Arcata. A pedal-powered, hyper-local compost service that caters to local farms could disrupt that trend. Recently, Howard and his business partner, Milly Correa, hauled old Halloween pumpkins to a local farm and fed them to the pigs.

"They were very happy," says Correa.

Piggies at Tule Fog Farm chowing down on Jack O'Lanterns. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Piggies at Tule Fog Farm chowing down on Jack O'Lanterns.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

EPD Identifies Officers Involved in Downtown Shooting

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Officers secured the scene before clearing medical personnel to respond to help Clayton Lee Lasinski, who was shot by police after allegedly brandishing a firearm at officers. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Officers secured the scene before clearing medical personnel to respond to help Clayton Lee Lasinski, who was shot by police after allegedly brandishing a firearm at officers.
The Eureka Police Department has identified the four officers who combined to fire more than 40 bullets during a Dec. 6 pursuit through Eureka that left a 26-year-old suspect with a non-fatal gunshot wound to the chest.

The suspect, Clayton Lee Lasinski, was armed with a .45 caliber handgun during the pursuit, but appears not to have fired it, according to Police Chief Andrew Mills. The officers who fired their weapons during the pursuit are Ron Harpham, a 25-year veteran of the force, Abraham Johnson and Steven Linfoot, both hired in 2013, and Dustin Nantz, hired in 2014.

Several sources not authorized to speak publicly about the multi-agency investigation into the officer involved shooting told the Journal that the preliminary investigation indicates officers fired a total of 44 rounds during the pursuit. Mills said he couldn't confirm that, but said officers did fire "more than 40" shots during the incident.

Linfoot is the same officer involved in EPD’s last shooting of a suspect, when he was the only officer to open fire in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Thomas “Tommy McClain” in September of 2014. Last month, a federal jury found Linfoot and McClain were both negligent in the incident, awarding McClain’s family $150,000 from the city of Eureka. The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office found Linfoot did not act criminally in the shooting, and a review by the EPD found he did not violate departmental policies and acted in self-defense when he opened fire.

The current shooting remains under investigation by the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team. For more information, see past coverage here and check out this week’s Journal, which hits news stands Wednesday.

See the full EPD press release copied below:

On December 6, 2016 at 1650 hours, officers of the Eureka Police Department responded to an emergency assist call from a California Highway Patrol officer for a fleeing suspect. The CHP officer said the fleeing man was armed with a weapon. Additional citizens reported the suspect’s direction and the fact that he was armed with a gun. EPD officers soon located Clayton Lee Lasinski (09/11/1990) and ultimately fired numerous rounds at him. Lasinski was struck once and taken into custody. Lasinski was taken to Saint Joseph Hospital by medics where he was treated, and he is expected to survive his injury.

The officer’s names were not released until now due to an on-line threat concerning the shooting. The officers who fired rounds are:

Ron Harpham                  May 28, 1991
Abraham Jansen             November 1, 2013
Steven Linfoot                 August 1, 2013
Dustin Nantz                    February 1, 2014

Each of the officers involved in this incident have been placed on administrative duties until cleared duty.


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Friday, December 9, 2016

EPD Chief: Officers Fired More Than 40 Shots in Tuesday's Pursuit

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 5:16 PM

Officers secured the scene before clearing medical personnel to respond to help Clayton Lee Lasinski, who was shot by police after allegedly brandishing a firearm at officers. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Officers secured the scene before clearing medical personnel to respond to help Clayton Lee Lasinski, who was shot by police after allegedly brandishing a firearm at officers.
Amid the chaotic foot pursuit in downtown Eureka Tuesday evening that ended with 26-year-old Clayton Lee Lasinski shot once in the chest, officers fired more than 40 shots, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills confirmed to the Journal.

Lasinski remains hospitalized, but is expected to survive. No officers were injured in the incident, and Mills also confirmed this afternoon that he doesn’t believe Lasinski ever fired his .45 caliber pistol during the incident that took place shortly before 5 p.m.

“I do not believe he fired any rounds — I believe he didn’t know how to manipulate the gun,” Mills said, explaining that the gun taken from Lasinski at the end of the incident had a full clip, an empty chamber and its hammer cocked back, which Mills believes indicates Lasinski didn’t realize he had to pull a round into the gun’s chamber in order to fire and was “dry firing” the weapon at officers.

The incident began after a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to pull Lasinski’s Dodge pickup truck over after he allegedly rolled through a stop sign when turning westbound on Fourth Street in Eureka. Lasinski then allegedly pulled the truck into the parking lot of the Best Western, where he bailed on foot — leaving two female passengers in the car — and fled the scene.

The CHP officer asked EPD to assist in canvassing the area for Lasinski, saying he was possibly armed with an unknown weapon. A few moments later, the officer called dispatch to report that Lasinski was in possession of a handgun, according to a Best Western employee who said the suspect had pointed the gun at him while fleeing the property.

The red Mazda allegedly stolen from Sole Savers and abandoned about a block away. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The red Mazda allegedly stolen from Sole Savers and abandoned about a block away.
An EPD officer finally spotted Lasinski near Seventh Street and pursued the suspect on foot. Lasinski allegedly ran into the parking lot of Sole Savers auto dealership, where he found a red Mazda 3 idling in a loading bay with its passenger door open. Lasinski got into the Mazda as the officer approached, according to a witness interviewed by the Journal, and the officer opened fire into the driver's side door area of the vehicle. A moment later, the witness said, the Mazda peeled out and fled the scene. On Wednesday, numerous bullet holes were visible in a white equipment shed in the loading bay behind where the Mazda had been idling the night before.

Additional shots were fired as the Mazda left the Sole Savers parking lot, according to the witness. The vehicle came to a stop a block away, in the intersection of Sixth and B streets, where additional shots were fired. Lasinski then fled down B Street toward Fifth Street, stopping at one point, according to a witness, to turn and point his pistol at pursuing officers, and drew more police fire. Ultimately, officers pursued Lasinski onto Fifth Street, where he stopped about halfway down the block between B and C streets, leaning against a black Volkswagen Jetta. Officers staged nearby with weapons drawn, but waited as Lasinski appeared to bleed out and collapse to the ground. At that point, they moved in, pulled a firearm from Lasinski’s hand and called for medical to come and assist him. According to witness accounts and video of the incident, officers did not attempt to provide first aid as they waited for paramedics staged nearby to move in and care for Lasinski.

Several sources not authorized to speak publicly about the multi-agency investigation into the officer involved shooting told the Journal that the preliminary investigation indicates officers fired a total of 44 rounds during the pursuit. Mills said he couldn’t confirm that number, but said he could confirm that “more than 40” shots were fired during the incident.

Meanwhile, the investigation is ongoing. Mills said the four officers who fired their weapons were scheduled to be interviewed this afternoon and will remain on administrative duty until cleared to return to the field. Their names have not yet been released to the public.

At a press conference Wednesday, Mills said he understands "that each officer is personally accountable for every round that they discharge and where that round ends up. And I will report back to the community once we've completed that investigation as to our actions last night."

Mills said today that investigators have been working hard to figure out where every round discharged by EPD officers was fired, as well as where they ended up. The investigation remains ongoing.

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