Crime

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UPDATE: Pedestrian Killed in Last Week's Crash ID'd

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2024 at 5:26 PM

UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Corner's Office has identified the 66-year-old pedestrian killed May 22 as Eureka resident David Sprague, according to a news release from the Eureka Police Department.

The multi-car crash remains under investigation, the release states, and witnesses are being asked to
 contact the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) at (707) 441-4300.


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The Eureka Police Department's investigation into a multiple-car crash on I Street yesterday that left a pedestrian dead and multiple people hospitalized remains ongoing, the department announced this afternoon.

According to a press release, EPD responded to a report of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian collision at around 1:45 p.m. yesterday in the 900 block of I Street, which was followed moments later by multiple reports of multiple collisions on I Street near Seventh Street.

A 66-year-old male pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, and several people from involved vehicles were transported to a local hospital for treatment, the release states. The accident is being investigated by EPD's Major Injury/Fatal Traffic Investigation Team, with help from department detectives and evidence technicians.

According to the release, the cause of the crashes remains unclear, saying only that "it appeared a vehicles was traveling north on I Street, collided with the pedestrian in the roadway near Ninth Street, continued traveling north, collided with additional vehicles near Seventh Street, and then collided into a building."

Police are withholding the pedestrian's name until the Humboldt County Coroner's office notifies his family of his death. EPD asks anyone with information about the crash to call (707) 441-4300.

Find the full press release here.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cal Poly Readying to Turn Protest Police Reports Over to DA

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2024 at 5:04 PM

Students and community members gather outside Siemens Hall amid a standoff between police and protesters occupying the building on April 22. - PHOTO BY ALEXANDER ANDERSON
  • Photo by Alexander Anderson
  • Students and community members gather outside Siemens Hall amid a standoff between police and protesters occupying the building on April 22.
Cal Poly Humboldt’s University Police Department is wrapping up its criminal investigation into the week-long occupation of Siemens Hall by pro-Palestine demonstrators and associated vandalism, and expects to turn the case over to prosecutors tomorrow, a university spokesperson tells the Journal.

At least 33 people were arrested in association with the demonstrations on campus that began April 22 and prompted administrators to shutter the campus, threatening students, faculty and staff who violated the “hard closure” order with citation or arrest. While those arrested were booked into jail on suspicion of trespassing, resisting arrest and unlawful assembly, all have since been released from custody and Humboldt County District Attorney Stacey Eads tells the Journal no charging decisions have yet been made, as she’s still awaiting investigative reports. Cal Poly Humboldt spokesperson Aileen Yoo says those will mostly likely be turned over to Eads’ office tomorrow.

At its May 7 meeting, the Cal Poly Humboldt University Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution calling on Eads not to prosecute the students and professor arrested during the protests.


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Monday, May 13, 2024

Sheriff's Office IDs Deputy Who Shot Suspect

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2024 at 4:28 PM

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the deputy who fatally shot a shooting suspect last month as Lt. Conan Moore, who remains on paid administrative leave.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Moore was responding to the scene of the report that a 75-year-old woman had been shot in Cutten and arrived to find Kevin Jeffrey Burks, who matched the suspect description, fleeing the scene. Burks reportedly then entered a residence, after which deputies set up a perimeter. Burks, 32, is alleged to have exited the home a short time later, "pointing a firearm in the direction of deputies." According to the Sheriff's Office, Burks "refused commands" before Moore shot him in the chest. He died about a week later in a local hospital.

The 75-year-old woman was transported to an out-of-area hospital for treatment for her gunshot wound and has since been released to a rehabilitation facility to undergo continued treatment, according to the release.

Moore has been with the Sheriff's Office for 15 years, according to the release, which is copied in its entirety below.


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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Man Shot by Deputy Last Month Dies

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2024 at 7:00 AM

Kevin Jeffrey Burks, the 32-year-old man shot by a Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy on April 25 in Cutten, died Friday, May 3, the Sheriff's Office announced today.

Burks, who is alleged to have shot and injured a 75-year-old woman on Fern Street before police were called to the scene, was transported to a local hospital for treatment from the scene. According to the sheriff's office, deputies responding to a report of  the initial shooting spotted Burks heading west toward Walnut Avenue and contacted him at gunpoint. He then reportedly fled into a nearby residence and emerged a short time later "pointing a firearm in the direction of the deputies," according to the press release. According to a press release issued the day of the shooting, Burk "refused commands" and was shot by a deputy.

The case remains under investigation by the multi-agency Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team and more information will be released after a forensic autopsy is performed, which is anticipated by the end of the week.

The Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information about the shootings to call it at (707) 445-7251 or its crime tip line at (707) 268-2539.

See the full release copied below:


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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Faculty Association Condemns Clearing of Campus; Lawmakers Call for Healing

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2024 at 3:57 PM

A protester places signs around Siemens Hall. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • A protester places signs around Siemens Hall.
The Cal Poly Humboldt Chapter of the California Faculty Association has issued a blistering statement condemning the police clearing of Arcata campus last night that led to more than two dozen arrests, calling it "another dangerous escalation," while North Coast state legislators released a joint statement calling for unity and healing in the wake of the protests.

The faculty association, which had already passed a vote no confidence in CPH President Tom Jackson Jr. stemming from his handling of the protests that occupied a portion of campus for a week, strongly condemn the use of law enforcement to clear the occupied area of campus.

"Over the course of the last week, student protesters have continued to ask for negotiations with CPH administration, in order to have a peaceful resolution to the protest," the association press release states. "These are the actions of conscientious individuals working to end a genocide, not the actions of criminals as President Jackson and Sheriff Honsal repeatedly called the student-protestors. University communications describe this morning’s law enforcement action as 'necessary to restore order and to address the lawlessness and dangerous conditions that had developed,' though, the only danger was that imposed by the threat of police action. The statement further minimized the students’ brave actions to bring light to ongoing genocide by calling the sit-in a criminal activity and not free-expression or protest."

The association press release demands that law enforcement release all students and faculty arrested last night, that administration immediately reinstate students suspended for participating in protests and impose no academic sanctions, that barriers to campus be immediately removed and campus reopened/ that Jackson release a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire "taking note of College of the Redwoods President Keith Flamer's statement to President Biden, and that administrators who negotiated with students and led them to "believe there would be meaningful action on their conscientious demands" be held accountable.

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood, meanwhile, released a joint statement noting "this has been an extremely challenging week in Humboldt"

"Protesting peacefully in America is a fundamental, Constitutional right — it's what our nation is about and, let's be candid, protesting is part of the fabric of the North Coast," he said. "That said, there is a clear line and it starts and stops with destruction of school property, vandalism and antisemitic hate speech."

The lawmakers went on to note that this morning's enforcement action resulted in no reported injuries and the "situation ended peacefully." Damage estimates on campus, they say, land at more than $1 million.

"Let's be clear — it's going to take time to heal," they say. "Trust is earned, and it is going to take all sides coming together to have the difficult conversations needed to move forward. Cal Poly Humboldt must be a campus where all faiths and students of all backgrounds feel safe, respected, and included. This has not been the case for Humboldt's Jewish students and others over the past week.

“As protests continue in other parts of the state and nation, it’s important to remember that reasonable ideas don't have to be in conflict — we can call for hostages to be immediately released and mourn every single one of the thousands of innocent lives lost; we can condemn violent actions and call for peace in the region. We’re stronger as a community when we learn from our differences and where we’ve been, and move forward together.”

Read the full statements from the faculty association and two lawmakers copied below.


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Large Police Operation Clears Cal Poly Humboldt Campus; No Injuries Reported

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2024 at 7:32 AM

Before dawn this morning, more than 100 police officers from agencies throughout the state descended on the Cal Poly Humboldt campus to systematically clear it of pro-Palestinian protesters, some of whom had occupied a portion of campus for more than a week.

A university press release issued this morning said the police action was necessary to "restore order" on the campus, which the administration had closed until May 10, and to "eliminate the threat of violence and criminal behavior." Yet a growing number of officials — including local city council members, county supervisors and university faculty and staff — in recent days had urged the university to show restraint and refrain from sending police in to clear the campus.

No injuries have been reported from this morning's police action and arrests. Local news site kymkemp.com had live coverage of portions of the operation, including video from reporter Ryan Hutson.

The full press release from the university is copied below and check this week's Journal for full coverage.


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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Deputy Shoots Cutten Shooting Suspect

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2024 at 4:55 PM

The Humboldt County multi-agency Critical Incident Response team is investigating a police shooting of an unidentified male suspect on Fern Street around 10:40 a.m.

The man is receiving treatment at an area hospital, as is a 75-year-old woman he allegedly shot prior to being contacted by police.

According to a press release, the Sheriff's Office received a 911 call around 10:30 a.m. reporting someone had been shot in the 2400 block of Fern Street. While en route, deputies learned that a white male adult had reportedly walked up to a 75-year-old woman standing in front of her garage with her sister and opened fire, hitting the woman at least once. He was then said to have fled on foot, heading west toward Walnut Avenue.

When deputies arrived on scene, they reported seeing a man matching the suspect's description walking on Fern Street and contacted him at gunpoint. The man reportedly refused commands and fled into a nearby residence. Three deputies then surrounded the home while waiting for backup. According to the press release, at 10:40 a.m., the suspect exited the residence and walked toward the deputies, "pointing a firearm in the direction of the deputies."

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cal Poly Humboldt Closed as Protesters Occupy Building

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2024 at 11:20 AM

The Gaza demonstration at Cal Poly Humboldt on Tuesday morning around 9 a.m., following the Monday evening occupation and blockade of Siemens Hall. Students in support of the occupation showed their solidarity with those blockaded inside Siemens Hall by bringing donuts, fruit, cooking oatmeal and preparing hot coffee on a propane stove, in addition to posting protest signs and flags around the blockaded entrances. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The Gaza demonstration at Cal Poly Humboldt on Tuesday morning around 9 a.m., following the Monday evening occupation and blockade of Siemens Hall. Students in support of the occupation showed their solidarity with those blockaded inside Siemens Hall by bringing donuts, fruit, cooking oatmeal and preparing hot coffee on a propane stove, in addition to posting protest signs and flags around the blockaded entrances.
The Cal Poly Humboldt campus is closed today, as dozens of protesters continue to occupy Siemens Hall, having barricaded its entrances, while calling on the university to divest from entities they say fuel Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in Gaza.

“The message from inside is that, first of all, they feel the university is complicit because of the campus’ investments with weapons companies and Israeli companies,” said Ryan Connelly, a junior biology major who identified himself as a spokesperson for those occupying the building. “Their conditions for release of the building: Divest, and then we’ll talk.”


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Friday, February 9, 2024

University Police Investigation Clears CR Baseball Players of Assault Allegation

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2024 at 11:16 AM

Cal Poly Humboldt police have determined a Palestine supporter who alleged she'd been assaulted near the Arcata Plaza in October lied about the incident, according to a  press release from the university.

Gihane Hyden had alleged that she was leaving a rally on the plaza around 2 p.m. on Oct. 28 when men she identified as members of the College of the Redwoods baseball team engaged her in conversation about the pro-Palestine signs she was carrying. Hayden alleged one of the men made critical comments before hitting her with his car as he pulled out of the university campus store parking lot "with such force that she ended up on the hood of the car." She alleges a coach then threatened her and pinned her in a chokehold in an effort to prevent her from leaving.

But UPD has determined this was not the case, according to the press release.

"According to UPD's investigation, the evidence does not support Hyden's allegations, and that Hyden vandalized a player's windshield by breaking it with her fist and prevented that player from exiting the parking lot in his vehicle," the press release states.

UPD has submitted its investigative report to the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office, recommending Hyden be charged with vandalism, false imprisonment and making a false police report, according to the release, which is copied below.


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Friday, February 2, 2024

EPD Identifies Deputies who Fatally Shot Suspect

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2024 at 2:40 PM

The Eureka Police Department has released the identities of the two Humboldt County Sheriff's Office deputies who fatally shot a suspect during a standoff Jan. 22.

The deputies, both members of the SWAT team, were identified as Johnathan Waxler and Colton Ross, who have five-and-a-half and six years of experience, respectively, according to a press release.

The shooting occurred at the end of a day-long standoff with Daniel Martinez, 43, at a residence in the 1400 block of Union Street after police received a report of a juvenile with a "significant laceration" to his neck at 5:46 a.m.. The juvenile told responding officers that Martinez had assaulted him and when they responded to the residence, they say Martinez barricaded himself inside with four hostages — an adult woman and three juveniles.

With the SWAT team standing by, a crisis negotiation team was in contact with Martinez throughout the day and the four hostages were released at 1 p.m. Negotiations continued for nearly four more hours until, shortly before 5 p.m., Martinez was fatally shot. The circumstances of the shooting have not been released, and EPD's press release states only: "At approximately 4:58 p.m., contact with the suspect was made, and an officer involved shooting occurred."

Today's update states an autopsy determined Martinez's "preliminary cause of death is due to gunfire."

Ross and Waxler remain on paid administrative leave, according to the release.

Find the full press release here.
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