Monday, April 24, 2017

Update: Names Released in Apparent Murder-Suicide at Caltrans Yard

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 5:23 PM


The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has released the names of those involved in this morning's incident. From the press release, "The deceased male subject in this case has been positively identified as Terry Allan Hayse, age 57 of Rio Dell. The female subject has been positively identified as Annette Kaleialoha Brooks, age 61 of Carlotta."

Gov. Jerry Brown also issued a statement today regarding the death of Brooks, saying,

“The tragic death of this dedicated public servant is a shock to the entire Caltrans family. Anne and I send our deepest sympathies to Annette’s family, friends and her colleagues during this difficult time.”

The flags at the state capital will be flown at half-staff in honor of Brooks.


Two people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide at the Caltrans maintenance yard in Rio Dell this morning. According to the local Caltrans public information office, the employees are believed to belong to a paint crew from District 4, which serves several Bay Area counties.

The names of those involved have not been released, but the California Highway Patrol responded to the maintenance yard on Eeloa Avenue at 7:02 a.m. to find one person dead and another in critical condition. The altercation is believed to have taken place between a male employee and his female supervisor over a workplace dispute. The press release states that the man fired "several rounds at the supervisor, killing her, before turning the handgun on himself."

"News of this tragedy shocks and saddens everyone at Caltrans," said Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty in a statement. "Our thoughts naturally are with the families. The exact details are under investigation and Caltrans is cooperating with law enforcement."

From the California Highway Patrol:

On April 24, 2017 at approx. 0702 hours, Humboldt CHP was notified of a shooting incident with one subject deceased on scene at the Cal-Trans Maintenance Facility in Rio Dell, CA. CHP and Rio Dell PD responded to the scene and found one party deceased and another person in critical condition with a gun shot injury. The injured person was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital, but later died at the hospital.

At this point, investigators believe that an altercation ensued between a Cal-Trans supervisor and another Cal-Trans employee over a work-related issue. The employee retrieved a handgun and fired several rounds at the supervisor, killing her, before turning the handgun on himself.

The investigation is being handled by Humboldt CHP with the assistance of the the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County DA’s Office, and Rio Dell PD. The names of the deceased will be released by the Humboldt County Coroner after the notification of next of kin.

Any inquires regarding this incident should be directed to the Humboldt CHP office.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Community Gathers to Mourn Slain HSU Student

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Lawson's mother is comforted by one of his friends. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Lawson's mother is comforted by one of his friends.
Katauri Thompson, a member of Humboldt State University’s Brothers United and close friend of David Josiah Lawson, asked all of the club’s members to join him on stage during a Thursday vigil for the slain 19 year old. Fighting back tears and holding one another, the group made their way up from the second row and stood around Thompson.

As they looked out at Lawson’s mother, there was a brief moment of silence. “You lost one son that night,” Thompson told her. “But you gained 15 more.”

The packed Humboldt State hall made it clear that Lawson was a friend and leader to many. His family sat in the front row, which faced dozens of flowers and a photo of the college sophomore.

The criminology and justice studies major died in the early morning hours of April 15 after being stabbed during an altercation at a house party in Arcata. Five days later, the Humboldt State University bell echoed throughout the campus as his family, friends, fellow students, faculty and community members filled the Kate Buchanan room to celebrate his life.

Sobs seemed to break out across the entire room as Thompson introduced HSU President Lisa Rossbacher. “It's beautiful that you could all come here,” she said.

Rossbacher noted that everybody in the room was standing on Wiyot land as she introduced Vincent Feliz, who led a group of 10 in a traditional healing song. “This is for the family here,” he said.

They sang a song about the willow that Feliz said represents the strength and endurance of the tree. “I sang that at my own mother’s funeral,” he said.

Corliss Bennett-McBride, director of the Cultural Centers for Academic Excellence and the faculty advisor for Brothers United, stopped to embrace Thompson before relating a story about how she ran into Lawson while out shopping one day.

“Stop by my office and say, ‘Hi,’ because I don’t have any friends,” she recalled telling him. Bennett-McBride said Lawson dropped in to see her at least two times a week that semester.

She also acknowledged that students of color often face struggles and culture shock after moving to this remote corner of California to attend HSU. “I am very familiar with the transitional piece students are experiencing,” Bennett-McBride said.

Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman appeared emotional as he stopped to embrace Lawson’s mother  before taking the stage.

“I want you to know,” Chapman said looking at her. “We will have justice for David, it will happen.”

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson was surrounded by her family and members of the Brothers United as she took the microphone at the gathering. “Thank you so much, Humboldt family, for being here and for celebrating my son,” she said fighting back tears. “My baby, my baby.”

Lawson’s childhood pastor, introduced as Pastor Phil, also spoke. He reminded the room that they had gathered together to celebrate a young man’s life.

“It's not about race,” he said. “It’s not about religion. It's about life. This is how I know he [Lawson] got it. I see every mix of race in this room.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct Michelle-Charmaine Lawson's name.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Not Guilty Plea Entered in Fatal Stabbing of 19-Year-Old HSU Student

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 5:32 PM

  • Gofundme
  • Lawson
The 23-year-old McKinleyville man accused in the fatal stabbing of Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson pleaded not guilty to murder and a related weapons charge at his arraignment today.

A preliminary hearing for Kyle Christopher Zoellner is set for May 1, District Attorney Maggie Fleming stated in an email to the Journal. His bail is set at $1 million.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher said in a statement released this afternoon that “we remain focused on supporting our students and doing all we can for Josiah's family.”

“Our University Police are continuing to assist the Arcata Police Department, which is leading the investigation,” the statement reads. “Looking ahead, we will insist that everything 
  • Arcata Police Department
  • Kyle Zoellner
possible will be done to pursue justice for Josiah."

The criminology major was apparently stabbed after a fist fight broke out early Saturday morning at a house party, possibly over a missing cell phone. The university and the Arcata Police Department have made repeated appeals asking everyone who was in attendance to come forward.

Yesterday, the APD specifically urged the sender of an anonymous email with details about the crime to talk with investigators. APD Chief Tom Chapman also said he plans to investigate and address concerns about the timeliness of the emergency response when it is appropriate.

A vigil for Lawson is set for Thursday.

From Humboldt State University:
A celebration of life in remembrance of David Josiah Lawson will be held on Thursday, April 20, at 5 p.m. in the Kate Buchanan Room.

The family of David Josiah Lawson and the HSU community will gather to to remember the life of Lawson, who died Saturday.

Lawson was a sophomore studying criminology at Humboldt State University and had recently been elected president of HSU’s Brothers United. He's remembered by his family for his warm smile and his kindness.

For support: Office of the Dean of Students at 707-826-3504. Counseling & Psychological Services at 707-826-3236. Employee Assistance Program at 707-443-7358.

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Talking Transparency

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 4:04 PM

  • Access Humboldt
Sunshine Week, that celebration of journalistic freedom and the public's right to know, may be well over, but you can keep the spirit going. If you missed Access Humboldt’s March 20 “Transparency and Privacy Roundtable” hosted by Sean McLaughlin and featuring Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills and the Journal's own news editor Thadeus Greenson, no worries. You can watch it right here. Look at us, sharing footage just like that.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

APD Seeks 'Valuable' Witness to Fatal Stabbing, Releases More Information

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 5:27 PM

  • Gofundme
  • Lawson
The Arcata Police Department is continuing to urge witnesses to Saturday’s fatal stabbing of Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson to come forward and cooperate with the investigation.

“The reality is a 19-year-old young man lost his life and it’s terrible and tragic and horrific and I think if anyone has evidence or information, they have a duty to come forward,” said APD Chief Tom Chapman.

Chapman said his department is especially keen on speaking with whoever sent it an anonymous email today that provide a first-hand account of the stabbing.

“There were some specifics (in the email) that certainly keyed for me that, if it’s legitimate, we need this person to come forward,” Chapman said. “They are a key eye witness and potentially a very valuable piece to this investigation.”

Continue reading »

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Witnesses Sought in Fatal Arcata Stabbing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 3:54 PM

The Arcata Police Department is looking to interview everyone who attended the house party where a 19-year-old Humboldt State University student was fatally stabbed early Saturday morning.

“Sometimes people are witnesses without really knowing they were witnesses, so we’re doing our best to reach out to and speak to everyone,” said Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman. "We’re trying to track those people down to see what they saw and what they didn’t see.”

Police responded to a house in the 1100 block of Spear Avenue at about 3 a.m. to find David Josiah Lawson bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Lawson later died at a local hospital.

Chapman said at least 50 people were still at the party when police arrived, and that police have already interviewed at least 20 witnesses, with many more interviews scheduled.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

HSU Student Fatally Stabbed Amid House Party Fist Fight

Posted By on Sat, Apr 15, 2017 at 1:30 PM

  • File
A stabbing in Arcata early this morning left a 19-year-old Humboldt State University student dead.

Details are scant at this point, but the university issued a press release this morning reporting that the stabbing occurred off campus and is being investigated by the Arcata Police Department, which has a suspect in custody but is still actively investigating.

According to APD Chief Tom Chapman, the stabbing occurred at about 3 a.m. during a fist fight that broke out at a house party. Chapman said in a text message to the Journal that the suspect is not an HSU student but stressed that detectives are still working to track down and interview witnesses.

The victim's name is being withheld until his or her family can be notified and Chapman said APD isn't releasing the suspect's name until additional witnesses can be interviewed.

The university is providing counseling and support services to grieving students (more info, including phone numbers, in the press release copied below). HSU President Lisa Rossbacher also sent out a campuswide email notifying students, faculty and staff of the killing.

“I have no words to adequately describe the sorrow of this loss,” she wrote. “This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us, and most especially the family and friends of the victim. Our thoughts are with them and we extend our condolences.”

The killing is Humboldt County's fourth homicide of 2017. The county tallied a record 22 last year.

From APD:

On April 15th, 2017 at approximately 3:00 am, officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to the 1100 Block of Spear Ave on the report of a stabbing.

When officers arrived, they found a male victim bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Officers immediately began life saving efforts. The man was eventually transported to Mad River Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The assault occurred as the result of an argument at the party.

The identity of the deceased, a 19-year-old male HSU student, will not be released until appropriate notifications have been made.

A 23 year old McKinleyville resident, has been taken into custody related to the incident.

The APD is actively investigating and asks for anyone with information about this incident to call the Arcata Police Department at 822-2428.

From HSU:

A 19-year-old Humboldt State University student was stabbed and killed last night, and Arcata Police have detained a suspect.

The name of the student is being withheld while family is being notified.

The incident occurred at an off-campus location. The investigation is being led by Arcata Police Department, with support from the University Police Department.

HSU officials are reaching out to the family of the student, and will be offering counseling and other support for friends, faculty, and others on campus who knew him.

Students who are in need of support during this time are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students office at 707.826.3504 or visit that office in Siemens Hall 211. For assistance any time, students can contact Counseling & Psychological services at 707.826.3236. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.

Letter from Rossbacher:

Dear University Community:

I am deeply saddened to share news with you that one of our students has died after a stabbing last night. I have no words to adequately describe the sorrow of this loss. This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us, and most especially the family and friends of the victim. Our thoughts are with them and we extend our condolences.

We are reaching out to provide support and counseling to members of our University community. We will also be in contact and offering support to family members.

The student’s name is currently confidential while his family is being notified. Because the incident occurred off campus, the investigation is being led by the Arcata Police Department with significant assistance from University Police.

For assistance any time, students can contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 707.826.3236. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Almost 50 Guns Surrendered in Eureka Buy Back

Posted By on Sat, Apr 1, 2017 at 10:42 AM

Firearms seized at the scene of a methamphetamine bust last year. - COURTESY OF EPD
  • Courtesy of EPD
  • Firearms seized at the scene of a methamphetamine bust last year.
The Eureka Police Department took almost 50 guns off the streets last weekend in a two-day buy back program that gave people a chance to surrender their firearms, no questions asked.

Capt. Steve Watson said a total of 48 guns — 26 handguns, 12 shotguns and 10 rifles — were turned in during the event, which EPD is thinking about replicating in the future. Watson said he’ll be briefing the Eureka City Council on the program at Tuesday’s meeting.

The proactive approach to getting guns off Eureka’s streets comes as EPD is encountering firearms at a staggering rate. As a Journal cover story last year revealed, EPD was seizing about six guns per 1,000 city residents, a rate dwarfing those of more violent cities like Chicago, Oakland or Baltimore.

Last weekend’s buy-back program — which saw the department hand out more than $1,500 in gift cards to a couple of dozen people in exchange for their firearms — was designed to combat that, and help get guns off the street. No public funds were spent in the buy back, Watson said, as the gift cards were made possible by a $1,000 donation from Redwood Capital Bank, $500 from the Southwest Rotary of Eureka and a few hundred dollars from the Eureka Neighborhood Watch group.

The buy-back also came on the heels of EPD’s Project Safe Eureka Expo, a two-day event designed to promote gun safety and security at the Bayshore Mall. As also reported on our “Strapped” cover story last year, Eureka sees a very high rate of firearm thefts, which EPD Chief Andy Mills believes contributes greatly to the high rates at which his officers encounter guns in the hands of people who can’t legally possess them.

For more on the buy back, tune in to Tuesday’s Eureka City Council meeting, which will conclude with Watson’s presentation.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

UPDATE: Man Killed in Alderpoint Stabbing Identified

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 11:20 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
UPDATE: The sheriff’s office identified the man killed in an Alderpoint stabbing this week as Eugene Arnold Minikel, 37, of Redway.

“This investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time,” the brief news release states.

A woman, whose name has not been released, told officials that she stabbed Minikel because he was physically abusing her.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office reports that a man is dead after a stabbing in Alderpoint last night. Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call from a woman who said she had stabbed her boyfriend because he was hitting her. The man was pronounced deceased shortly after deputies and medical aid arrived on scene.

Lt. Dennis Young says the woman was interviewed but not taken into custody. The case is currently under investigation. No names have been released.

The killing is Humboldt County's third homicide of 2017 but the first that didn't involve a car crash. Last year, a record 22 homicides were recorded in the county.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Puppy Plucked From Humboldt Bay to be Adopted by Rescuer

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 1:17 PM

This puppy was plucked out of Humboldt Bay after being dropped from the Samoa Bridge by an unknown suspect. She is set to be adopted by one of the fishing crew members who helped rescue her. - COURTESY OF THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy of the Sheriff's Office
  • This puppy was plucked out of Humboldt Bay after being dropped from the Samoa Bridge by an unknown suspect. She is set to be adopted by one of the fishing crew members who helped rescue her.

One of the fishermen who rescued a puppy thrown off of the Samoa Bridge is set to adopt her.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is currently looking for the man who dropped the young dog off the bridge's middle span around 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The suspect is described as a white male, late teens to early 20s, wearing a red-brimmed baseball hat with yellow writing. He fled the area on a black and white bike.

The puppy was rescued by a fishing crew that witnessed the incident and boated over to help the dog.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office.

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On Monday, March 13, 2017, at approximately 0930 hours, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report that someone had dropped a puppy off the middle span of the Samoa Bridge. A fishing crew on a boat witnessed the incident and was able to rescue the puppy from the water. An Animal Control Officer responded to investigate, and took custody of the puppy.

The female puppy was transported by the Officer to a local veterinarian and is in good condition. The puppy is currently at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter and will soon be adopted out to one of the persons who rescued her.

The suspect is described as a white male adult, late teens early 20’s, wearing a black baseball hat with a red brim with yellow writing and a white flannel jacket The suspect left the area in an unknown direction riding a black and red bicycle.

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

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