Crime

Monday, December 22, 2014

3rd UPDATE: Name Released in Eureka Homicide

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 6:06 PM

click to enlarge EPD.jpg
Third update: The coroner's office says the 14-year-old victim was Jesus Joani Garcia-Romero, of Arcata.

Second Update:
Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Trevor Enright said the victim in the case is a 14-year-old from Arcata.

Enright said the boy's family has been notified, but officials are holding off on releasing his identity "because he's a minor and of some of the circumstances involved." The apparent homicide remains under investigation.


UPDATE: An EPD press release, which states the victim was a juvenile, has been added to the end of this post.

Eureka police are investigating what they believe is the county’s 15th homicide this year after finding a man lying in a yard on the 2300 block of 15th Street this morning.

EPD Capt. Steve Watson said the man was alive but unresponsive when officers arrived on scene at about 8:30 a.m., but that he later died at a local hospital. PIO Brittany Powell said the man had wounds that were “of a suspicious nature,” and that the death is being treated as a homicide. Powell said EPD is not releasing any details about the type of wounds found on the man at this point.

Powell said EPD investigators, detectives, officers and evidence technicians are investigating but have yet to identify any suspects in the case. Powell asked that anyone with information about the case call EPD at 441-4060.

If the death is confirmed as a homicide, it would be the sixth in Eureka this year, a number that includes the September officer-involved shooting death of Thomas “Tommy” McClain. It would be the 15th homicide countywide, according to the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.

From EPD:
On December 17, 2014, at about 8:22 a.m., Eureka Police officers were dispatched to a report of an unresponsive male lying in the 2300 block of 15th Street. Upon officers arrival they located the subject and determined he was in need of immediate medical aid. Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance responded to the scene and transported the male subject to St. Joseph Hospital. Lifesaving efforts were performed but the male ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

This incident is being actively investigated as a Homicide. Homicide detectives responded to the scene along with an evidence technician and took over the investigation.

It has been determined that the victim is a juvenile who is known to Law Enforcement. The victim’s age and city of residence will be released through the Coroner’s Office once proper next of kin notifications are complete.  

Editor's Note: This post was updated from a previous version to accurately reflect Eureka's year-to-date homicide total.
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UPDATED. CHP: Suspect Attacked Officer with Machete Before Fatal Shooting

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 6:04 PM

click to enlarge California Highway Patrol Capt. Adam Jager holds a machete similar to the one officials say a 17-year-old suspect used to attack an officer yesterday, leading to a fatal shooting. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • California Highway Patrol Capt. Adam Jager holds a machete similar to the one officials say a 17-year-old suspect used to attack an officer yesterday, leading to a fatal shooting.
Update one: The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has released the name of the person killed: Hoopa tribal member Richard Fredrick Tis Mil Estrada, 17, of Hoopa.

Update two: The California Highway Patrol says the officer involved in this incident, Tim Gray, was discharged from U.C. Davis Medical Center today.

———

It was a surprise machete attack that began the deadly altercation between a California Highway Patrol officer and a Hoopa teenager near Willow Creek early yesterday morning, said CHP Capt. Adam Jager, who heads the agency’s Humboldt office.

During a press conference this afternoon, Jager said the officer responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a light pole just east of Willow Creek at about 1:35 a.m. to find a 17-year-old driver sitting behind the wheel of a Nissan sedan. The officer made contact with the driver, who then exited the vehicle, Jager said. The two then walked around to the rear of the vehicle, Jager said, when, all of a sudden, the teenager attacked the officer with a machete.

“He swung it at my officer,” Jager said, adding that the officer reflexively ducked, raising his left hand in a defensive position. The machete, Jager said, struck the officer in the hand and arm before hitting him in the face. “You can imagine what that would do.”
click to enlarge Officials say a 17-year-old from Hoopa used a machete similar to this one to attack a California Highway Patrol officer early yesterday morning. The officer fatally shot the teenager. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Officials say a 17-year-old from Hoopa used a machete similar to this one to attack a California Highway Patrol officer early yesterday morning. The officer fatally shot the teenager.

Jager said the officer — who’s been with CHP for two years — then drew and fired his weapon as he went down. Jager declined to say how many times the officer shot or how many bullets hit his assailant, citing the ongoing multiagency investigation into the incident.

The officer, Jager said, was able to “miraculously” keep his composure and balance enough to retreat back to his patrol car, at which point he locked himself inside and radioed for help. Witnesses later told investigators that the juvenile then got back in the driver’s seat of the Nissan and began honking his horn, according to Jager.

When a backup officer arrived on scene, Jager said, he found the juvenile lying completely naked on the ground beside the Nissan, acting erratically. The officer ordered the juvenile to put his hands behind his back but he didn’t comply, Jager said, and the officer Tasered him. Ultimately, Jager said, two good Samaritans came to the officer’s assistance, helping him handcuff the juvenile. At that point, the officer and responding paramedics began CPR. A short time later, the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, Jager said, the injured officer was transported by ambulance to Mad River Community Hospital and later flown to University of California Davis for further treatment due to the severity of his injuries. Jager declined to detail the officer’s injuries, but said repeatedly that they are “very serious.” The officer remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said his office is leading the Critical Incident Response Team investigation into the shooting, but declined to get into details at the press conference, which took place just a little more than 36 hours after the shooting. The sheriff described the situation as fluid and fresh, adding that investigators haven’t even been able to get a statement from the injured officer at this point.

Jager said witnesses told investigators that the juvenile was acting erratically after the accident but prior to the officer’s arrival on scene, throwing things from his vehicle. The captain said it’s unclear when and how the machete came into the picture — whether the juvenile had it concealed during his initial contact with the officer or pulled it from somewhere. “We’re not sure, because it happened so fast, where that machete came from,” he said.

Officials are withholding the injured officer’s name at this point, saying they want to give him some time and privacy, but pledged to release it in the near future. The juvenile’s name has also not yet been released.

Jager said the injured officer has been with CHP for two years, but only transferred from the San Francisco Bay Area to Humboldt on Dec. 2 to become the area’s resident officer in Willow Creek as part of a program designed to bring CHP officers and the communities they serve closer together.

“This is difficult,” Jager said, apparently struggling to contain his emotion. “This is sad. This is a 17-year-old kid from Hoopa. It’s terrible. Our hearts go out to the family of this young man. … It’s a terrible thing that’s happened and there’s nothing we can do about it at this point.”

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

County Homicide Total a 30-Year High

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge Source: Humboldt County Coroner's Office. - MILES EGGLESTON
  • Miles Eggleston
  • Source: Humboldt County Coroner's Office.
Humboldt County has seen more homicides within its borders this year than in any stretching back nearly 30 years.

This morning’s officer-involved shooting fatality brings the 2014 total — with 13 days left in the year — to 16 homicides. According to statistics provided by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, that’s more than in any year since at least 1985 (the office only had statistics readily available stretching back to 1986). Since 1986, the county has seen a double-digit homicide total 11 times, with the previous high being 15 back in 1988.

Last year, there were 11 homicides documented in the county, a jump from the five recorded in each of 2011 and 2012.

Of this year’s homicides, two have been committed by police officers — the Sept. 17 shooting of Thomas “Tommy” McClain by a Eureka officer and this morning’s shooting of an unidentified male suspect by a CHP officer. (It should be noted that the term homicide is defined as the killing of one human being by another, and does not imply whether the death was justified, illegal or other. Legally speaking, there are three types of homicides in California: murder, manslaughter and justifiable.)

Humboldt County Coroner Dave Parris said it’s really hard to point out a singular cause for this year’s homicide spike. Looking at the numbers over the years, Parris said they seem to jump up every couple of years. “Why? I don’t know,” he said.

If you read through case files on each of the homicides, Parris said some trends emerge: a number were related to domestic violence issues and more were related to marijuana cultivation or sales.

Of the 16 people who have died at the hands of another this year, six were killed in southern Humboldt County, six in Eureka, two in Fieldbrook, one in Trinidad and one in Willow Creek. Of the 16 victims, six were age 25 or younger, which Parris said is troublesome.

“What’s really concerning to me is that, with the last two homicides we’ve had, we’re looking at young people — young victims,” he said. “Losing kids under 21 years old is extremely concerning to all of us, or it should be. And we should all be asking ourselves what we can do to prevent those.”

A list of the 16 homicide victims this year by date (location of killing in parentheses):
Jan. 1 — Eric Freed, 56 (Eureka)
Jan. 8 — Jesse Ruiz, 24 (Trinidad)
March 26 — Richard Storre, 60, and Lance Henry, 25 (Eureka)
April 19 — Zackery Chapman, 36 (Garberville)
July 18 — Neil Decker, 50 (Alderpoint)
July 21 — Scott Johnson, 57 (Alderpoint)
Sept. 3 — Harley Hammers, 37, and Angel Tully, 37 (Fieldbrook)
Sept. 17 — Thomas McClain, 22 (Eureka)
Oct. 14 — Robert Flaherty, 30 (Garberville)
Oct. 19 — Ethan Stroud, 32 (Shelter Cove)
Oct. 22 — Daneyal Siddique, 40 (Garberville)
Nov. 15 — Casey Campbell, 22 (Eureka)
Dec. 17 — Name not released, 14 (Eureka)
Dec. 18 — Name and age not released (Willow Creek)
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2nd UPDATE: CHP Shoots, Kills Suspect Near Willow Creek

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM

click to enlarge E15Minutes_chp_logo.jpg
Because of the officer-involved shooting that occurred early this morning, the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District will shutter all its schools tomorrow, according to Superintendent Jon Ray.

“We’re closing because we’ve experienced a tragedy here in our little community, so it’s best for our families to be together,” Ray said, adding that the closure was unplanned but necessary. Schools, he said, will re-open Jan. 5 after the planned winter break.


Previously:
A California Highway Patrol officer shot and killed a male suspect early this morning after responding to a single car accident on State Route 299 near Willow Creek.

According to a CHP press release, the officer was violently attacked immediately upon his arrival at the crash site, which occurred sometime after 1:35 a.m. The release states the officer was attacked with a “deadly weapon,” but CHP has declined to specify what that was.

“The officer, in fear for his life, discharged his departmentally issued firearm at the suspect,” the release states, adding that the suspect sustained fatal injuries in the exchange and was later pronounced dead at the scene. The officer was transported to a local hospital, where he is in stable condition.

The Lost Coast Outpost has parsed out scanner traffic from the incident, which can be found here.

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Trevor Enright is currently on scene and was consequently unavailable to comment for this story. The shooting is being investigated by the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team, which is made up of officers from a variety of local agencies.

The officer-involved shooting is the second this week, after a Humboldt County sheriff’s deputy fired at an occupied vehicle during a pursuit Monday, injuring an unidentified woman.

See the full CHP press release below:

HUMBOLDT CHP OFFICER INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING INCIDENT

AFTER RESPONDING TO A TRAFFIC COLLISION



WILLOW CREEK, Calif. - On Thursday, December 18, 2014, at approximately 1:35 am, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Communications Center received a report of a single vehicle traffic collision on State Route 299 at Blue Jay Lane in the Willow Creek area. A CHP Humboldt Area officer assigned to the Willow Creek Resident Post was called out to handle the traffic collision. Upon the officer’s arrival, the officer was violently attacked by the driver of the vehicle by use of a deadly weapon. The officer, in fear of his life, discharged his departmentally issued firearm at the suspect. The suspect subsequently sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The officer sustained major injuries and was transported by ground ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment.



The officer is listed as in stable condition. There are no other known suspects outstanding and the CHP believes this to be an isolated incident. The county-wide shooting investigation team has been assigned to investigate this incident. In addition, the CHP’s Northern Division shooting investigation team has been assigned to investigate this incident as an internal administrative investigation.



This is a very tragic event that will have a lasting impact on our community, the CHP Humboldt Area, and the officer and families involved.



Any inquiries into this incident can be directed the California Highway Patrol Humboldt Area office at (707) 822-5981.



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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Officer-involved Shooting Investigation Continues

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge COVER-badge_.jpg
The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team is currently investigating an officer-involved shooting in McKinleyville, after a sheriff’s deputy opened fire on a fleeing vehicle occupied by two suspects in McKinleyville last night.

Details are scant at this point, but the sheriff’s office reports that a deputy attempted a traffic stop on a black SUV after learning its registered owner had a felony arrest warrant out. The vehicle fled, and a pursuit ensued until the SUV pulled into a private driveway off the 2300 block of Chapel Road, with the deputy following.

“At this time, the suspect vehicle attempted to drive back out of the driveway toward the deputy’s location, at which time shots were fired by the deputy sheriff,” the press release states.

A female suspect in the SUV suffered a “non-life threatening injury to her hand,” in the exchange and has been transported to an out-of-area hospital for treatment. She remains unidentified, according to the release, and has been uncooperative with law enforcement. The vehicle’s other occupant, identified as 23-year-old Michael Lawrence Barrett, was located near the scene and arrested. He is currently being held on a parole-violation warrant out of Los Angeles County.

The deputy who shot at the SUV has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. See the full press releases from the Sheriff’s Office below.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The investigation into last night’s officer involved shooting in 2300 block of Chapel Hill Road in McKinleyville is still ongoing. Sheriff’s Office Detectives and members of the countywide Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) are currently investigating the incident. CIRT consists of investigators from the District Attorney’s Office, Eureka Police Department, Arcata Police Department, State Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol.

The male suspect, Michael Lawrence Barrett (age 23) remains in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on a no bail warrant for Parole Violation out of Los Angeles. The unidentified adult female remains in a hospital, out of the area, with a non-life threatening injury to her hand. Investigators are still trying to confirm her identity due to her not cooperating with law enforcement. Neither Barrett nor the Deputy was injured.

The Deputy involved in the shooting is not being identified at this time and remains on administrative leave per the Sheriff’s Office Shooting protocol which is standard procedure in a case such as this.

Barrett and the unidentified female have not been charged with a crime at this point pending the outcome of the investigation.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (707) 268-2539.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On 12-15-14 at about 9:00 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff Deputy attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Azalea Rd. near Chapel Hill rd. McKinleyville. The solo Deputy had observed a black SUV and learned that the vehicles registered owner had a felony warrant. The vehicle initially failed to stop and continued to drive in the 2300 block of Chapel Road. During the traffic stop the suspect vehicle pulled down into a private driveway with the Deputy following. At this time, the suspect vehicle attempted to drive back out of the driveway towards the Deputies location, at which time shots were fired by the Deputy Sheriff. During the suspects attempt to evade the Deputy, the suspect vehicle had struck two parked vehicles in the driveway. An injured female inside the vehicle has not yet been identified. The adult female received an unknown type of hand injury and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. A male suspect fled from the vehicle and ran into a wooded area. Information was gathered that the fleeing male suspect may have been armed at the time he fled. A search of the area was conducted utilizing Sheriff Deputies, and responding officers from Arcata Police Department, Eureka Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. A Fortuna Police K-9 Officer arrived and assisted with the search. After several hours of searching, the Police K-9 located a male suspect hiding in the wooded area. The male suspect, Michael Lawrence Barrett (age 23) was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail and booked for his no bail charge for the Parole Violation warrant.
A County wide Shooting Investigative team has been activated and is currently investigating the incident and conducting interviews with all of the involved subjects. The Deputy has been placed on administrative leave per the Sheriff’s Office Shooting protocol.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-
445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Ready, set, squash

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

click to enlarge character-72719_1280.jpg

Time’s a’creepin’ up on you Humboldt gardeners planning to put a little GMO oomph into your winter gardens — some genetically modified beans or broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, perhaps? (We’re mainly looking at you, rebel Nathan Rex, and your promised GMO squash garden.)

On Dec. 2, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is set to certify the results of the November election. Measure P, which bans the growing, cultivation or propagation of genetically modified organisms, passed with 61 percent of the vote. Ten days after the board certifies the vote (Dec. 12, if all goes as planned), the ban goes into effect. Nobody is permitted to grow new GMOs — except in a controlled laboratory setting — after that. However, those who already have crops growing before the ban date will have until Jan. 1, 2016, to eradicate them.

Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf — whose department is in charge of enforcing the new law — told the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors recently that he’s still refining the details of the new enforcement program and will report back in early 2015. 

“There is still a lot for me to work out in terms of reviewing the language of the ordinance,” he said, adding he’s consulting with counsel as well as with a geneticist.

Opponents to the ban have said that the ability to vaccinate animals might be impacted by it. Dolf said he’s pretty sure state law trumps local ordinances in that regard, in particular state law require rabies vaccines for dogs and brucellosis vaccines for female bovines. But he's double-checking.

Enforcing the ban, which will be complaint-driven, could get expensive if enough complaints come in that require laboratory testing. But Dolf said he doesn’t have cost estimates. Looking to Trinity and Mendocino counties isn’t much help, he added — they’ve had bans in place for years, and there’s been just one complaint, in Mendocino, which proved unfounded. Those counties were not known for growing GMO crops in the first place, he said, whereas Humboldt has grown GMO silage (corn feed for livestock).

We haven't heard of other GMO crops being grown here in Humboldt. And we tried, to no avail, to reach Rex, the would-be ban-defier who raised $800 from sympathizers in a gofundme campaign so he could plant genetically engineered squash. 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

No Criminal Charges Against Officer in Tommy McClain Shooting

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

click to enlarge Tommy McClain - FROM THE 'JUSTICE FOR TOMMY MCCLAIN' FACEBOOK PAGE.
  • From the 'Justice For Tommy McClain' Facebook Page.
  • Tommy McClain
There will be no criminal charges against Stephen Linfoot, the Eureka police officer who shot 22-year-old Tommy McClain to death on Sept. 17.

A District Attorney’s office press release states, “After reviewing the [Critical Incident Response Team investigation] report in its entirety, the District Attorney’s Office concluded that the evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an officer committed a crime. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against any officer. …”

The press release describes the event of the evening that resulted in McClain’s death, matching statements made by Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills following the incident. The Journal wrote about the EPD’s protocol following the shooting, and asked experts about officers’ handling of the situation.

Brian Stephens, the EPD sergeant who initially confronted McClain but did not fire his weapon, according to reports, was recently promoted to EPD captain as part of Mill’s restructuring plan.

DA Paul Gallegos’ comment from the press release:

“Thomas McClain’s death is a terrible tragedy. He is mourned by his family, his friends and this community but it was not caused by any criminal activity that I can see on the part of the law enforcement officers. My heart and my prayers go out to Thomas McClain, his family and friends and the law enforcement officers involved in this terrible tragedy. It is my sincere hope that time brings comfort and solace to all.”
Full press release below:

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No Shopping Cart Left Behind

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 4:35 PM

click to enlarge 89680311.jpg
Could Eureka’s scourge of shopping cart bandits and their war on our disease-free children (think of the children) be coming to an end? In its latest monthly newsletter, the city announced it’s going medieval, appointing a “shopping cart czar” (no joke) to bring an end to Eureka’s greatest dilemma: people stealing shopping carts and pushing their stuff around in them.

Of course, the inconvenience to grocery owners isn’t the only thing we’re dealing with. Everyone knows that people who steal shopping carts are dirty, disheveled and diseased, and can you imagine if you touched a cart that one of those grossies had touched before you? Well, some budding R.L Stine at city hall can imagine that, and he or she wrote a chilling speculative fiction novella about the horrors of shopping-cart-contracted hepatitis. Read at your own risk below. (It must be noted that Hepatitis C is typically transmitted through blood to blood contact, like sharing needles, according to the CDC. If a shopping cart is covered in blood, it’s probably best to select a different one and notify store staff.)

And while we’re at it, let’s nominate some more pressing problems that call for the appointment of czars; I’m thinking we need a dog poop czar, a bicyclists-on-sidewalks czar, a cruise ship czar and a people-rummaging-through-your-recycling-at-night-czar. Name yours in the comments.

A mom walks into a grocery store carrying her child. Her arm is sore and she sits him down in the shopping cart she just pulled from the rack of carts just outside the store.

Starting to shop she puts fruit, vegetables, and other various products into the cart, while moms not looking the child starts to lick the cart. As she turns around to see what the child is doing she insists he stop putting his mouth on the cart as there are germs etc. Unfortunately She has no idea where this cart has been in the last several days. Being pushed down the street piled high with trash, personal items, syringes and other unspeakable items.

The cart was pushed by a person with Hepatitis C and other communicable diseases and has not washed in weeks. It was stolen from the store for personal use. The cart was ultimately returned without sterilization and put back into service.

The first thing ones notices when driving into town are shopping carts…carts are everywhere. Carts are used for barbeques, transportation of animals, property and even people. Random and abandoned carts are unsightly and add to the disorder people notice and feel uncomfortable with. People deciding whether to stay for the night or go to the next town view them as a sign of disorder and keep right on moving past Eureka. Carts can also facilitate property crime as there has to be a way to transport stolen property.

To combat the problem, Eureka City Council passed a new ordinance to reduce the incident of stolen shopping carts by holding the thieves and businesses accountable. One business with excellent practices has very few carts stolen while another cannot keep them in stock. One company prevents their costly departure, another won’t accept them even if brought back.

For further information, please call police officer Eddie Wilson who is the Shopping Cart Czar with problems, complaints and suggestions. He can be reached at (707) 441-4060.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Former DA Candidate Moves On

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 3:22 PM

click to enlarge ELAN FIRPO
  • Elan Firpo
Former Humboldt County District Attorney candidate Elan Firpo took her first steps in a new career today, stepping in as a partner in a prominent local firm now known as Zwerdling, Bragg, Mainzer and Firpo.

“It’s a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to a new chapter,” said Firpo, who has worked as a deputy district attorney in Humboldt County for about five years.

With sitting District Attorney Paul Gallegos not seeking re-election, Firpo ran for the post in June, but finished a distant second to District Attorney-elect Maggie Fleming, who took 61 percent of the vote to Firpo’s 25 percent. Fleming is slated to take office in January. Firpo — who on the campaign trail described being a prosecutor as a “calling” and a “dream job” — declined to detail the reasons for her departure other than to say she was presented with a great opportunity and felt it was time for a change.

This leaves Fleming to take over an office with a short list of attorneys experienced in prosecuting serious and violent felonies. In a message to the Journal, Fleming said she is “fortunate” that former Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat and former Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac have agreed to return to the office in January to help her temporarily while she recruits new attorneys. Both are retired, so it’s unclear whether they will be returning on a full or part-time basis and for how long they have agreed to stay.

Gallegos said Firpo’s departure is a loss for the DA’s Office, but quickly added that the community is fortunate she is staying here in another capacity with a local plaintiff’s firm that does good work. “I think she’ll continue to be a credit to the legal profession in Humboldt County,” Gallegos said.

Firpo’s departure comes just weeks after her successful double murder prosecution of Bodhi Tree, who is now serving 108 years to life in state prison. Tree’s conviction wound up being Firpo’s prosecutorial swan song. She was also slated to handle the case of Gary Lee Bullock, a Garberville man accused of torturing and murdering popular St. Bernard Church Pastor Eric Freed on Jan. 1. Firpo said the hardest part of her decision to leave the office came when she called Freed’s family to tell them she’d be handing off the case.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Revelers be Warned

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 4:51 PM

click to enlarge 87567653.jpg
The Arcata Police Department sent out a sternly worded press release this afternoon warning that criminal Halloween tomfoolery will not be tolerated.

No doubt seeking to avoid a repeat of last year’s scary plaza spooktacular — which saw 35 arrests, a man stabbed with a liquor bottle and a cop car mercilessly beaten by a man on mushrooms — APD’s preemptive warning advises that a whole lot of cops will be on the plaza conducting “interactive patrols” Friday night and throughout the weekend to make sure order is maintained. “The APD encourages people to act responsibly, respect the community, designate a driver, and have responsible fun,” the press release states.
click to enlarge One of many Arcata Plaza Halloween victims over the years.
  • One of many Arcata Plaza Halloween victims over the years.

While that seems a simple request, history has shown it to be a bit of a Hail Mary, as the plaza-trashing debauchery has risen to the level of quasi tradition. The best hope for a quiet Halloween seems to be coming from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which is predicting rain, hail and lightning in the area Friday night.

So, be safe out there, and try and make some good choices. Read the full APD press release, as well as another coaching parents on how to keep their kids safe, below:


HALLOWEEN ON THE ARCATA PLAZA

During past Halloween nights, unruly and criminal behavior has resulted in signifcant criminal activity on the Arcata Plaza and within the downtown areas. This activity has resulted in high value vandalism and property damage, unnecessary injuries, and multiple arrests by the police department.

Due to this past behavior, the Arcata Police Department along with officers from other local and state law enforcement agencies will be conducting increased, highly-visible and interactive patrols of the Arcata Plaza and downtown areas throughout Halloween night and weekend.

The Arcata Police Department is committed to maintaining a safe, secure and inviting environment on the Plaza and downtown areas, but will enforce a zero tolerance policy for criminal conduct. As a reminder alcohol consumption and smoking are not permitted anywhere in the downtown areas of Arcata.

There are many alternative events for adults to enjoy on Halloween from live concerts to dancing. The APD encourages people to act responsibly, respect the community, designate a driver, and have responsible fun.


PLAYING IT SAFE ON HALLOWEEN

This Halloween, the Arcata Police Department encourages people to play it safe. It is anticipated there will be rainy weather this Halloween. Parents and children should carry flashlights when out Trick or Treating and wear a piece of reflective clothing to keep yourself visible to motorists.

For older kids, parents should set a time limit for trick-or-treating and make sure the kids go with friends. Remind kids not to enter a strangers house or car.

Arcata Main Street will be hosting its annual Trick-or-Treat on the Plaza from 4pm to 6pm. Local businesses will be participating in this family-fun event. The Arcata Police Department will also be out handing out candy.

Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween! 

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