Crime

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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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Man Shot by EPD Expected to Survive

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 5:22 PM

EPD Captain Steve Watson, right, and Sgt. Gary Whitmer talk during the investigation of an officer involved shooting that took place near EPD headquarters around 5 p.m. Tuesday. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • EPD Captain Steve Watson, right, and Sgt. Gary Whitmer talk during the investigation of an officer involved shooting that took place near EPD headquarters around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Clayton Lee Lasinski, the 26-year-old suspect shot by Eureka police officers Tuesday evening, remains hospitalized but is expected to survive, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills said at a press conference this afternoon.

Lasinski was shot once through the chest, Mills said. And Mills said that while it's clear Lasinski brandished a handgun at officers at multiple points during the pursuit yesterday,he's not sure if the suspect ever fired the weapon.

Mills said the officer involved shooting incident that gripped Eureka yesterday began with a simple traffic stop by a California Highway Patrol officer who saw Lasinski roll through a stop sign when turning onto Fourth Street. When the officer attempted to pull Lasinksi over, he allegedly turned into the Best Western at Fourth and Commercial streets, ditched his car and two female passengers in the parking lot and fled on foot.

Lasinski apparently believed he had an out-of-state warrant out for his arrest, which proved not to be the case, though Mills said it was “certainly the reason he was fleeing.”

Mills said a couple of Best Western employees attempted to detain Lasinski, but he told them he was “strapped,” pulled a handgun and ran off, jumping a fence en route toward Fourth Street. Mills said the CHP officer then put out an emergency call for assistance, reporting that an armed suspect had just fled the scene and offering Lasinski’s description. Calls came in to police dispatch reporting sightings of Lasinksi near Roy’s Auto Center on Fifth Street. An EPD officer then spotted him travelling easot on Seventh Street and pursued him on foot.

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.
Lasinksi then turned into the Sole Savers car lot at Seventh and A streets, where he jumped in a red Mazda that was left running on the lot, according to Mills. Here, shots were fired for the first time during the incident, the chief said. Lasinkski then allegedly fled in the Mazda, turning onto Sixth Street, where he drove against one-way traffic for less than a block before abandoning the car at the intersection of Sixth and B streets. Mills said it’s unclear whether the car died at that location or Lasinski simply decided his chances were better on foot.

A number of EPD officers then picked up a foot pursuit of Lasinski, Mills said, chasing him northbound on B Street until he turned west on Fifth Street. Shots were fired at several locations along this route, the chief said, though he didn't specify by whom.

Lasinski ultimately stopped his attempt to flee on Fifth street about halfway between A and B streets, where he leaned against a black Volkswagen. He stood there until he collapsed and was handcuffed by EPD officers after they pulled what Mills identified as a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his hand. He was then loaded onto an ambulance and transported to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

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.

No officers were injured during the incident.

Mills said it remains unclear if Lasinski fired his handgun during the exchange — which stretched through multiple crime scenes spread across more than four city blocks — though he brandished the gun at officers numerous times. When officers pulled the gun from Lasinski’s hand, Mills said it had a full clip with the hammer cocked back in firing position, which he took to mean he’d either fired his clip empty and reloaded, or the gun had malfunctioned and not fired at all.

A total of four EPD officers fired shots during the incident, Mills said, declining to identify the number of shots fired this early in the investigation. Witnesses interviewed by the Journal reported hearing anywhere from six shots to more than 20 during the incident, which lasted a little more than 10 minutes.

“I understand that each officer is personally accountable for every round that they discharge and where that round ends up,” Mills said. “And I will report back to the community once we’ve completed that investigation as to our actions last night.”

Mills said the four officers will remain on administrative duty until he clears them to return to the field.

Stressing at multiple points throughout the press conference that this investigation is in its infancy — with the officers yet to be interviewed, camera footage yet to be reviewed and witnesses yet to be contacted — Mills said it will be thorough and objective. It is being conducted under the county’s Critical Incident Response Team protocol, which assigned EPD senior detective John Gordon and District Attorney investigator Marvin Kirkpatrick to lead the effort.

During the press conference, Mills was asked about what seems to be an escalating trend of crime and violence locally. “There seems to be a trend right now where people are willing to take on police, and that’s not acceptable in a civil society,” Mills said. "In order for Humboldt to become the city we want to be, there needs to be a culture of lawfulness.”

Mills asked anyone in the community who witnessed part of yesterday’s incident to contact the Eureka Police Department to report what they saw and aid the investigation.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

UPDATE: Officer Involved Shooting in Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Officers have the street blocked off surrounding the shooting scene. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Officers have the street blocked off surrounding the shooting scene.

2nd UPDATE:

EPD Chief Andrew Mills gave a statement to the press at around 7:40 p.m., saying that the incident originated with a call from the California Highway Patrol at around 4:43 p.m. asking EPD to assist with a suspect with a gun having “footbailed” from a car. EPD officers were in the middle of a shift change, ensuring that many were on hand to pursue the suspect, who was described by witnessess as a young male with dark hair, wearing camouflage pants.

Witnesses also called into dispatchers reporting an armed suspect. Mills said the suspect went over fences with officers in pursuit and there were shots fired. The pursuit went toward EPD headquarters, then to Fifth Street. At 4:52 p.m. the suspect apparently attempted to steal a vehicle and, when approached by officers, he again fled on foot, at which point he was shot. A firearm was recovered and held for evidence, Mills said.

Mills said the suspect is in surgery and his condition is unknown. Four officers were involved in the shooting.

“This was a hairy situation,” added Mills. “We are very thankful none of our officers or civilians were hurt.”

Mills did not take questions, saying there was not enough information at this time.

UPDATE:

The officer-involved shooting currently under investigation by multiple agencies began with a foot pursuit near Roy’s Auto Center.

According to scanner traffic captured and posted by the Lost Coast Outpost, officers reported a suspect fleeing on foot near Roy’s and a pursuit ensued, which took the suspect and officers to the rear parking lot of the Eureka Police Department, where shots were fired, though it’s unclear by whom. The pursuit then continued toward Fifth Street, where more shots were fired, though it’s again unclear by whom.

Officers then reported the suspect was hiding behind a black vehicle on Fifth Street between A and B streets, and requested that an ambulance stage nearby. Another officer can be heard on the scanner then warning that civilians and a California Highway Patrol officer near Fifth and A streets were potentially standing in the “cross fire,” and asked that they be moved.

About a minute later, an officers tell dispatch they’re preparing to bring in the canine before another officer tells him to hold off, saying officers had the suspect “covered.” “Just hold the dog,” the officer said. “They have him covered. We will go up and detain him.”

A moment later, an officer responds that police “have a shield en route, if you can stand by just a minute.” The other officer responds, “He’s covered. I’m comfortable with this. Just hold the dog. Lower your weapons.”

About 40 seconds later, an officer asks dispatch to send the ambulance, staged at Sixth and B streets, to the scene, saying officers have “one detained.” The officer gives the “Code 4” call, indicating the situation is under control.

An officer then asks dispatch to conduct a roll call officer check to make sure all involved officers are accounted for.

PREVIOUSLY:
An officer-involved shooting in Eureka late this afternoon sent an unidentified man to the hospital. His condition is unknown.

Details are scant at this point but EPD Capt. Steve Watson said no officers were physically injured in shooting, which occurred near the intersection of Fifth and B streets at around 5 p.m. EPD currently has the street closed to traffic and is calling in officers from allied agencies to assist with the investigation.

We’ll update this post with additional information as we can get it.

This is the third officer involved shooting within Eureka city limits in the last 13 months, though it's the first involving an EPD officer since police shot and killed 22-year-old Thomas McClain on Sept. 17, 2014.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UPDATED: Sheriff's Office: Father Sought in Eureka Child Abduction Case

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Anthony Lux and Allison Shirey - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Anthony Lux and Allison Shirey
Update:

Anthony Lux returned his 4-year daughter, Alison Shirey, to her legal guardian last night. Lux and his daughter were the subject of a three day search after he took her from her guardian's home Sunday night.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, Lux stated he had received advice that he had the legal right to remove his daughter from the home. Selena Zorilla-Mendoza, the HCSO public information officer, said there were no plans to press charges against Lux at this time.

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at about 10:50 p.m. Anthony Lux met with Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies to return his daughter, Allison Shirey. Lux spoke with Investigators and stated he had received advice that there were no court orders in regards to Allison’s guardianship and he had legal rights to remove Allison from the home. Lux agreed to return Allison after speaking with Investigators after realizing his actions were unlawful and plans on pursuing custody of his daughter.

Deputies returned Allison to her guardian and was removed from the missing persons system. Allison was in good health and good spirits.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public and media for their assistance in attempting to locate this child.

Previously:

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is searching for 4-year-old Eureka girl who was reportedly taken by her father on Sunday night without permission.

Anthony Lux, 31, was given a ride to St. Joseph Hospital from a Hillside Court residence where he was last seen with Allison Shirey but did not check in and has not been seen since then, according to a sheriff's office release.

The girl's legal guardian, who has temporary custody of Allison, was in another part of the home when Lux left with his daughter, officials said.

Read the full sheriff's office release below:
On Sunday, November 27, 2016 at about 7 p.m. Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs responded to the 4100 block of Hillside Ct. in Eureka for a reported child abduction by parent. The reporting party told deputies when she was in another part of her residence, Anthony Lux (31) unexpectedly left with his daughter, 4 year old Allison Shirey. The reporting party provided court documentation stating she has temporary physical and legal custody of Allison. Lux did not have permission to take Allison from the residence.
It was later discovered Lux received a ride from the residence on Hillside Ct. to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Lux did not check into the hospital and has not been seen since. Lux has connections in Alderpoint, Eureka, McKinleyville, Montegue (Siskyou County) and Chico (Butte County). Lux’s whereabouts are unknown at this time.
Anthony Lux is a white male adult, 5’8”, 160 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing an olive colored pea coat, black pants, and black shoes.
Allison Shirey is a 4 year old girl, 3’ tall, 50 lbs, with blue eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing pink pants with owls on them and a white shirt with blue and pink flowers.
A Be-On-the-Lookout (BOLO) was issued for Lux. 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.

Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly identified the relationship between Allison Shirey and her legal guardian. The Journal regrets the error.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Murder Arrest in Hoopa

Posted By on Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 12:10 PM

Lorence  Emmanuel Bailey's booking photo.
  • Lorence Emmanuel Bailey's booking photo.
In the early hours the day after Thanksgiving, Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a call at a home in Hoopa Valley and found wounded woman who died at the scene. Deputies have arrested Lorence Emmanuel Bailey for her murder and his bail is set at $1,000,000.

This is Humboldt County's 20th homicide of the year.

Read the full press release below.


Continue reading »

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

DA: No Evidence Juveniles Had Means to Pull Off Bomb Plot

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 4:50 PM

da.png
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s office has decided not to pursue criminal charges against two 15-year-olds accused of plotting the bombing of a Fortuna High School assembly.

“To date, the investigation has yielded no evidence that either juvenile had the means to create an item that could be a hazard — one individual possessed approximately 2 grams ([less than] .1 ounces) of sulfur, a readily available legal product with a variety of uses,” a press release from the office states. “Further, there is insufficient evidence to indicate the two juveniles conspired to commit an attack.”

Both findings are in direct conflict with statements from Fortuna Police Chief Bill Dobberstein on Nov. 11, the day after police thwarted the alleged plot. The chief told the Journal and other media outlets that one of the juveniles was found to be in possession of “several components for making some kind of toxic chemical gas explosion devices” but were missing a “key ingredient” that police believed was stashed somewhere on campus. Dobberstein said it appeared the students were planning on making multiple explosive devices with a substance akin to homemade mustard gas, or sulfur mustard, to detonate them at an all-school assembly that day.

Further, Dobberstein said it appeared the students had been planning a “mass casualty event” for some time and targeting “when there was going to be a large gathering of students and teachers in one place.”

The Fortuna Police Department also issued a press release this afternoon, stating that it has been made aware of the DA’s Office’s decision and will continue to follow up on any new leads in the case.

See past Journal coverage of the incident here, and find the press releases from the DA’s Office and Fortuna PD copied below.

From Fortuna PD:
Fortuna High School Threats case update
The Fortuna Police Department has been made aware that the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office will not be bringing charges at this time against the two 15 year-old boys arrested on November 10, 2016 at Fortuna High School.
The Fortuna Police Department has worked tirelessly over the last 6 days investigating this case with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of investigation. We have followed every lead and conducted multiple searches in regards to this case. The safety of the students and citizens of Fortuna never wavered and was a paramount concern during this investigation.
Although no charges will be filed at this time, the Fortuna Police Department will continue to follow up on any new information related to this case.


From the DA's Office:
DA Perspective on Potential Threat to Public Safety at Fortuna High
Office of the District Attorney - Maggie Fleming, District Attorney
NEW RELEASE
November 16, 2016
This press release provides current information from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s perspective on the potential threat to public safety at Fortuna High School last Thursday.
Based on statements by students, Fortuna High School staff and the Fortuna Police Department responded immediately to a potential threat and took appropriate action. The ensuing investigation resulted in the FBI and Fortuna Police Department serving search warrants on the homes and computer devices of the two juveniles suspected of plotting an attack at an assembly. To date the investigation has yielded no evidence that either juvenile had the means to create an item that could be a health hazard – one individual possessed approximately 2 grams ([less than] 0.1 ounces) of sulfur, a readily available legal product with a variety of uses. Further, there is insufficient evidence to indicate the two juveniles conspired to commit an attack.
The FBI and Fortuna Police Department continue to investigate the case, but at this point the evidence does not support filing of state criminal charges against the two individuals involved.


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Saturday, November 12, 2016

UPDATED: Police Chief: Fortuna High School Narrowly Escaped 'Terrible Tragedy'

Posted By on Sat, Nov 12, 2016 at 7:23 PM

fortuna-police-department.jpg
UPDATE:
The Fortuna Police Department sent out a press release this evening stating that it has investigated additional reports of violent social media threats since Thursday and found them not to be credible.

Since officials thwarted two students’ alleged plans to set off numerous homemade chemical bombs during an all-school assembly Thursday, FPD has been working with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the case, according to a press release. Additionally, there will be a “strong law enforcement presence” at the school Monday as a precaution and to help “allay any fears that students, staff and parents may have following Thursday’s arrests.

See the full press release copied at the bottom of this post.

PREVIOUSLY:
According to Police Chief Bill Dobberstein, three short hours is all that stood between Fortuna High School and tragedy.

Fortuna police announced last night that they had arrested two male 15-year-old students at the school who had been planning a “mass casualty event” to take place during an all-school rally on campus yesterday afternoon.

“It could have been a terrible tragedy if that rally would have taken place,” Dobberstein told the Journal this morning. “The whole school was going to be there for this thing.”

The police chief said word of the plot — which the suspects had been planning for some time — came to school administrators’ attention around noon yesterday. Dobberstein said one of the suspects in the case had apparently texted a friend, telling him or her to “basically stay out of the gym during the rally.” The friend then told another student, who told another student, who told his or her mother, who called another mother who ultimately called the school and made them aware of the warning, according to Dobberstein.

Fortuna High School Principal Clinton Duey was then able to trace the origins of the warning back to one of the suspects, and brought him into his office. Duey was able to get the other suspect's name, Dobberstein said, and brought him into the office as well, holding both suspects there while he called police.

Dobberstein said his department was notified of the situation at about 1:15 p.m. and responded immediately to the school. “It was literally about an hour before the school was scheduled to go to the rally,” Dobberstein said.

The chief said officers searched the students and, in one of their backpacks, found “several components for making some kind of toxic chemical gas explosion devices.” The students were missing a “key ingredient,” Dobberstein said, but police believe they had the missing chemical stashed somewhere on campus, based on witness statements and messages found on the suspects’ phones, tablets or computers. It appears the suspects were planning on making multiple explosive devices with a substance akin to homemade mustard gas, or sulfur mustard, a chemical agent that causes severe burning of the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

“Absolutely more than one,” the chief said. “They had enough material to definitely make more than one.”

Dobberstein said investigators will be serving search warrants today, including one to gain access to “electronic messaging devices” used by the suspects. But the chief said that based on what police have accessed thus far, it appears the suspects may have been planning a mass casualty event for some time and targeting “when there was going to be a large gathering of students and teachers in one place.”

So far, police don’t have any reason to believe anyone else was involved in the plot, Dobberstein said, but can’t rule out the possibility. Both suspects were arrested yesterday and booked into juvenile hall.

As to a motive for the thwarted attack, Dobberstein said many have been “thrown around, but we couldn’t say with certainty what the motive was at all.” The chief said he doesn’t believe either of the suspects had a lot of prior police contact, but otherwise wouldn’t comment on the boys. He also said it doesn't appear either of the suspects had access to other weapons.

Fortuna High School administrators didn't immediately respond to messages this morning.

The case remains under investigation by the Fortuna Police and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, and police ask anyone with information to contact the police department at 725-7550.

Dobberstein commended the response of students and parents who relayed information, and of administrators who quickly identified and detained the suspects.

See the full press release from FPD copied below:

Fortuna Police Investigate threat to Fortuna High School

On November 10, 2016 at about 1:15 PM the Fortuna Police Department responded to the Fortuna High School for a report of a threat to student safety.

Officers contacted two 15 year-old students that had been detained by high school staff. Officers learned the two juveniles were communicating with each other, planning a mass casualty event that was to take place at a rally at FUHS later in the afternoon. Officers located some components for making an explosive device, however incomplete, in the possession of one of the juveniles. Evidence and items located on the juveniles indicated the threat was very serious in nature.

The two juveniles were taken into police custody and later transported to Juvenile Hall. The Fortuna Police Department is working this investigation with investigators from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office. This is a very active investigation with multiple locations being searched.

The Fortuna Police Department asks the public for any information and assistance in this case. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Fortuna Police Department at (707) 725-7550.

From FPD Saturday:

Fortuna High School threats case update

The Fortuna Police Department is continuing our investigation on the threats reported to us on Thursday afternoon, involving two students who reportedly had the intention to commit an act, or acts of mass violence at Fortuna High School’s Pep Rally, scheduled for that afternoon.

Both individuals were arrested, and found to have items in their possession which lent credibility to those threats.

We have also become aware of further allegations of planned violence on social media by other individuals. These allegations and reports are being taken very seriously and have been followed up by investigating officers. These allegations have been found to not be credible.

However, our department continues to work closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Attorney’s office on this investigation.

As an added precaution, there will be a strong law enforcement presence at the High School on Monday to help allay any fears that students, staff and parents may have following Thursday’s arrests.

As more information becomes available to us as result of this investigation, we will provide pertinent facts to help dispel any unfounded rumors being circulated on social media and by other means.

We ask that citizens call the department, at 725-7550, with any information that they may have regarding Thursday’s incident, or any rumors regarding any threats to students or other citizens.


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Update: No Injuries in Hoopa Officer-Involved Shooting

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 10:13 AM

cover-badge_.jpg
UPDATE: No one was injured during an officer-involved shooting in Hoopa after a sheriff’s deputy shot at a suspect who reportedly fired at law enforcement several times from his residence during an early morning stand off yesterday.

Eric Michael Matilton, 31, is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon, willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, and violation of probation, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. He bail was set at $50,000.

The full release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is posted below.

On Thursday, October 27, 2016 at about 3:30 a.m. Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to Hwy 96 near Boozer Ln. in Hoopa for a report of a subject having some type of mental issue and shooting from his residence.
Upon arrival, deputies attempted to get the subject to exit the residence using a public address (PA) system. Dispatchers were in contact with the suspect via telephone and relayed to deputies the suspect wanted to see a patrol vehicle with overhead lights on before he would come out. Deputies moved a patrol vehicle within sight of the residence and took cover nearby due to shots being fired from the residence. The suspect still refused to exit the residence.
While deputies were on scene, more shots were fired from the residence by the suspect. The suspect then exited the residence with a firearm and walked down the driveway. The suspect fired a bullet in the direction of deputies and retreated back into the residence. The suspect again exited the residence with a firearm and walked toward the staged patrol vehicle pointing the firearm in the direction of where the deputies and bystanders were located. Fearing for the safety of those on scene, a deputy fired shots at the suspect. The suspect was uninjured. Shortly thereafter the suspect was apprehended. No one was injured during this incident.

The suspect was identified as 31 year old Eric Michael Matilton, of Hoopa.

Matilton was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, and violation of probation. He was taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the above listed charges. His bail was set at 50,000.

PREVIOUS

A man who “confronted deputies” responding to reports he was shooting from his Hoopa residence early this morning was arrested following an officer-involved shooting at the scene.

Few details on the incident, including whether anyone was injured, are being released by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at this time. An upcoming press release will have more information, according to the sheriff’s office.

Release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:


Continue reading »

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Aid Worker Kidnapped in Niger Reportedly from McKinleyville

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Jeff Woodke. - REDWOOD COAST SCHOOL OF MISSIONS
  • Redwood Coast School of Missions
  • Jeff Woodke.
2nd UPDATE:
In a statement sent to the Journal, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman indicated he’s working with the State Department to facilitate kidnaped missionary Jeff Woodke’s safe return home.

“My thoughts are with Jeff Woodke and his loved ones during this extremely trying time,” Huffman said of the 55-year-old McKinlyville man who was abducted in West Africa on Friday night. “It is devastating to see my constituent who has spent his life dedicated to humanitarian service be victimized in this way. I am working with State Department officials and will do everything in my power to ensure Jeff’s swift and safe return home.”

1st UPDATE:
Reuters is reporting that Niger Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum has confirmed the identity of the American kidnapped last night as 55-year-old Jeffery Woodke of McKinleyville.

Additionally, Bazoum issued a statement offering some additional detail about the attack, including that an armed man on a motorcycle arrived at Woodke's home in Abalak and opened fire on an armed guard before a Toyota truck returned to abduct Woodke.

"These criminals are now heading towards Mali. Our forces are on their trial," Bazoum says in the statement, according to Reuters.

Read the full report here.

The New York Times also now has a report up, which can be found here.

PREVIOUSLY:
Multiple news reports are identifying the Christian American aid worker kidnapped by armed gunmen in Niger yesterday as a 55-year-old Mckinleyville man.

Britain’s Daily Mail and CBN News, a Christian online reporting outlet, have both identified the man as Jeff Woodke, a Humboldt State University alum who works for the Redwood Coast School of Missions run through Arcata First Baptist Church. According to the Redwood Coast School of Missions website, Woodke has “committed the past 25 years of his life to a ministry he founded in Niger amongst a number of unreached people groups.”

According to multiple accounts, gunmen stormed the home of a longtime American aid worker in the the West African city of Abalak, killed a bodyguard and a local police officer in a shootout and then fled with a kidnapped American toward Mali. CNN reported that witnesses say the worker was forced to strip down to his underwear before being put into a 4x4 vehicle, noting that “such measures are often taken by kidnappers to avoid hostages being tracked.”

CNN further reported that "authorities are taking all necessary measures to locate the American and his abductors, including imposing a heavy military presence between Abalak and the border with Mali, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly."

Radio France Internationale reported the victim had worked in the area since the 1990s with Youth with a Mission, which bills itself as a “global movement of Christians … dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.” The group reports that it works in more than 1,100 locations spread across 180 countries — including Abalak, Niger — with a staff of more than 18,000.

It’s unclear who is responsible for the kidnapping and the U.S. State Department has so far said publicly only that it is aware of reports of a kidnapping of a U.S. citizen in Niger. Attempts to reach North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman and Arcata First Baptist Church were not immediately successful this morning.

A short bio on Redwood Coast School of Missions indicates missionary work in Niger has been a huge part of his life’s work.

“Jeff’s passion in providing humanitarian aid to those who are amongst the poorest in the world, coupled with his desire to see God’s kingdom advanced in a largely Muslim world has played a large part in the life and ministry of (Arcata First Baptist Church),” the site says.

On her Facebook page, Christian author Cheryl Ford indicated she was a 15-year member of the same Humboldt County church as Woodke and that her family went to Niger under his leadership a couple of times.

“One had to marvel at the man,” she wrote. “My world kind of stopped yesterday over this news.”

Ford also quoted Tracy Rickstrew, who worked at Arcata First Baptist Church and whom Ford identifies as a “former Niger team missionary,” as follows: “Our friend and director when we worked in Niger, Africa was kidnapped yesterday. Please pray for him and his family. I know his heart would not be for his own life, but for God’s glory in all of this. He is tough and his faith is resolute and we know that there is nowhere on earth that he can go where the Spirit of God is not already with him.”

Back in June of 2014, Woodke was a guest speaker at the Arcata First Baptist Church. Watch the video below:


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Monday, October 10, 2016

Sheriff's Office Investigating County's 19th Homicide

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 4:55 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating another homicide, after a 23-year-old was stabbed to death in Weott on Friday night.

The homicide is the 19th recorded in the county so far this year, and comes in the midst of the county’s single grisliest annual homicide total in at least 30 years. It also puts the county on pace to record nearly 25 homicides this year.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a disturbance in the 400 block of Newton Road in Weott at about 10:40 p.m. Friday. While en route, deputies were advised that one of the subjects, a 23-year-old male, had been stabbed and driven to a local hospital, where he later died.

An investigation determined there was a physical altercation that led to the stabbing, according to the press release.

See the full release from the Sheriff’s Office copied below:


Homicide Investigation - Case 201605035
On Friday, October 7, 2016 at about 10:39 p.m. Humboldt County Deputies received a report of a disturbance on the 400 block of Newton Rd, Weott. While en route, Deputies were told one of the subjects, a 23 year old male, had been stabbed and driven to a local hospital. Deputies arrived at the Newton Rd residence to investigate the incident. Deputies determined there was a physical altercation between two males which resulted in the 23 year old male getting stabbed.
The 23 year old involved party was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Detectives were called to the crime scene and are investigating this incident.
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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