Crime

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sheriff Says Recent Guard Attack Part of Growing Trend

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 3:04 PM

A screenshot from the video of the assault. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • A screenshot from the video of the assault.
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal held a press conference this morning to share details about a Wednesday evening assault on a correctional deputy at the county jail and to call for more state resources in response to a surge in similar attacks since the 2013 passage of Assembly Bill 109.

According to Honsal, the attack on deputy Dillon Huffman is the 22nd such attack on a correctional officer in 2017. Huffman was apparently lured into a maximum security cell during a routine cell check at around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 9 after two inmates, Lorence Emmanuel Bailey and Jonah Dale Little, allegedly invited him to look at some artwork. The men had shed their uniform orange jumpsuits and were "prepared to fight," said Honsal. In a video released by the HCSO, Huffman can be seen entering the cell and then backing out again as the two men hit him with their fists.


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UPDATE: Attempted Murder Suspect Surrenders to Police

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Shawn Hof Jr.
  • Shawn Hof Jr.
UPDATE:
Shawn Hof Jr., the 25-year-old wanted since he allegedly shot at a state law enforcement officer last August, turned himself into police yesterday, a day after multiple agencies announced a renewed effort to bring him into custody, complete with a $20,000 reward.

See the full press release from the California Fish and Wildlife copied below our original post.

PREVIOUSLY:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this morning that it is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Shawn Eugene Hof Jr., a 25-year-old man accused of shooting at an officer last year.

Hof, who was the focus of a recent raid in Ferndale that came up empty, was allegedly involved in a high-speed pursuit on State Route 36 on Aug. 21, 2016 and is accused of opening fire on a pursuing Fish and Wildlife officer. There is a $500,000 warrant out for Hof’s arrest.

Hof is described as standing about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Law enforcement asks that anyone with information about the case, and particularly Hof’s whereabouts, call a tip line set up at (888) 334-2258 or the Sheriff’s Office at 268-2539.

See the full press release copied below.


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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DA Clears EPD in Hospital Death

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 5:33 PM

FILE
  • FILE
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the circumstances surrounding the April 2, 2016 death of Jeremy Jenkins and found that EPD personnel did not contribute to the cause of his death.

Police were called to Spring Street at 1:25 p.m. that day to a report of a man “rolling around on the ground,” and arrived to find Jenkins on the sidewalk. When an officer contacted Jenkins, he reported told him he’d just smoked “$40 of meth,” according to a DA’s press release. Jenkins was then transported to St. Joseph Hospital, where he died.

A forensic pathologist determined Jenkins’ cause of death to be “excited delirium” due to “acute methapmetamine intoxication.” Jenkins was 33.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

UPDATED: Security Guard Shoots, Kills One

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:20 PM

FILE
  • FILE
UPDATE: The man shot has been identified as Herbert Macias, 56, of Eureka. EPD Capt. Brian Stephens confirms that more details about the case may be released after interviews have been completed. The name of the shooter and the security firm for whom he or she works has not yet been released.

Previously:

The Eureka Police Department reports that one man is dead after an apparent confrontation with an armed, on-duty, security guard in the alley behind the Shell gas station at 5th and N streets in Eureka.

No names have been released, but according to EPD's press release, prepared by Capt. Brian Stephens, officers responded at 8:14 p.m. last night to find a man with gunshot wounds to his torso. The man had allegedly confronted the security guard and attempted to stab him, whereupon the guard fired his weapon. The man succumbed to his injuries after being transported to the hospital.


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Friday, July 14, 2017

UPDATE: Fortuna City Manager Arrested for Second DUI

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 10:35 AM

Wheetley - CITY OF ARCATA
  • City of Arcata
  • Wheetley
Fortuna City Manager Mark Wheetley was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence yesterday evening, just about 18 months after a DUI arrest derailed his candidacy for a seat on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Cy May said an officer pulled Wheetley over shortly after 7 p.m. yesterday after spotting him speeding on State Route 255 near Navy Base Road. In addition to allegedly doing about 70 miles an hour in a 55 zone, May said the registration tags on Wheetley’s 2013 Chrysler Town and Country minivan were expired.

“After we stopped him and contacted him, the officer observed Mr. Wheetley displaying signs and symptoms of intoxication,” May said, adding that the officer then gave Wheetley a field sobriety test, which he failed.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

UPDATED: Chief Mills' Last Day Set for July 21

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 11:51 AM

Mills in cooler days. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mills in cooler days.
UPDATE: The Eureka City Council is not currently slated to discuss the process for replacing police Chief Andrew Mills at the July 18 meeting, which comes just three days before his last day on the job.

City Clerk Pam Powell said more information on the process may be announced next week and the appointment of an interim chief is likely to come before the council at the beginning of August.

PREVIOUSLY: It’s now official: Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills’ last day with the city is set for July 21.

After nearly four years on the job, Mills is heading south to Santa Cruz, where he’ll take on the same position 10 days later in a city that's double Eureka’s size but faces many of the same issues, including a sizable homeless population.

Mills announced he accepted the position back in early June but the offer was contingent on his passing an extensive background check, which was recently completed.

“It’s bittersweet,” Mills says, adding praise for the men and women of his department. “We truly love the people of Humboldt and we’ve found many like-minded friends and people with similar interests, like grandchildren, and many salt-of-the-earth people who are just fantastic.”

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Eureka Police Seek New Leverage Against Homeless on Third Street

Posted By on Sat, Jul 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM

LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
A recent pair of break-ins to Betty Chinn’s warehouse on West Second Street has drawn attention to the Eureka Police Department’s efforts to address crime and loitering in the area. On Wednesday, under the direction of the Public Works department, employees of Mercer Fraser erected a fence that effectively cordons off the west side of Third street across from the St. Vincent de Paul dining facility, an area that, in recent months, has been a place where many homeless and transient people have spent the day. Local business owners have complained about problems with theft, vandalism, violence and other issues, and have been meeting with the chief of police and other officials in order to discuss potential solutions.

The break-in and theft from Chinn’s warehouse appears to have been the tipping point for public sentiment, but plans to disrupt the gathering have been in effect for several months. With arrest serving as insufficient leverage, EPD has instead developed a multi-part plan, announced in May, that will “improve the overall business climate in the surrounding area.” But how exactly the plan will be implemented and enforced, and its efficacy, might raise more questions than it answers.

In the memo titled “Crime and Blight at 3rd and Commercial,” authored by Chief Andrew Mills on May 8, Mills references a 30-year history of people gathering adjacent to St. Vincent de Paul, where meals are served daily.

“However, in the past year the number of people spending the day on the sidewalk and street has grown,” Mills continues, referring to a surge in activity at the location since the city evicted a long-standing homeless camp in the PalCo Marsh on May 6, 2016. According to data analyzed by the Journal, there was a steep increase in police calls for service to the eight-block radius around the area in the months immediately following the marsh eviction.
EPD Capt. Steve Watson says both logged complaints and anecdotal evidence, as well as observations by officers, has supported the idea that there are “increasing crowds of homeless, increasing crime and disorder” in the area.


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Friday, June 30, 2017

Press Conference Sheds Little Light on Lawson Case

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 5:28 PM

APD chief Tom Chapman addresses reporters on HSU quad. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • APD chief Tom Chapman addresses reporters on HSU quad.
Two months and two weeks after the April 15 death of David Josiah Lawson, a 20-year-old Humboldt State University student who was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party, little in the way of new information has been made public. Today a group of Lawson's family members and friends holding Justice for Josiah posters joined Arcata city officials on the HSU quad beside Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman as he updated media on the case.

The press conference, announced by Lawson's friend and fellow member of HSU cultural group Brothers United Elijah Chandler, was organized, according to the press release as "an opportunity for media to ask questions regarding progress of the investigation and Arcata Police Departments lack of transparency."

But Chapman was unable to to satisfy the questions of many present, saying, "its difficult to answer questions about an ongoing investigation."

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Sheriff's Office IDs Inmate Who Died in Custody

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 3:11 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman who died in custody at around 3 a.m. this morning as Colleen Marie Branch, 36, of Eureka. Branch was in the jail's medical unit to detox off an undisclosed substance, according to Lt. Mike Fridley. She was discovered by a staff member at around 2:45 a.m. and appeared to not be breathing. She was transported to the hospital and declared dead at 3:20 a.m. Booking records indicate that Branch was booked into the jail Wednesday evening for parole violations. The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team is currently conducting an investigation.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Alleged Energy Scam Has Eureka Residents Up in Arms

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 3:57 PM

THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
A video of a Humboldt Hill resident chasing two alleged scammers down the street while exchanging insults has generated more than 15,000 views on Facebook. The video, posted Tuesday evening by Bill Yeater and shared on several crime-oriented Facebook groups, shows a young man and woman walking rapidly away from Yeater, who is holding two pitbulls on leashes. Yeater says in his post that the people came to his door to do a "PG&E survey."

"I know what you guys are doing, you're trying to harvest our information," says Yeater.

"IGS Energy buddy, it's a real company," replies the woman.

"You're an ugly, nerdy dude with no pussy in your life," says the man, who pulls the young woman away from taking a photograph of Yeater.

Yeater tells the duo that he has "protection" along with his pitbulls.

"You'd better get out of this neighborhood," he adds, saying that the sheriff is on the way.

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