Crime

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Police: Slain Fortuna Woman Was Intervening in Kidnapping

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 1:28 PM

Officers at the scene of the shooting Sunday. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Officers at the scene of the shooting Sunday.
A Fortuna woman who was killed Sunday was shot while trying to stop Ronald Allen Crossland, a convicted felon with a long criminal history that included domestic violence, from kidnapping another woman, police said today.

According to a brief follow-up statement from the Eureka Police Department, Sharral “Sherry” McDonald had “no prior association” with Crossland and met him through the second woman, who was unharmed. She has not been named and EPD public information officer Brittany Powell has not responded to requests to clarify her relationship to Crossland. Read previous coverage here.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for McDonald’s memorial service and to help her family. The 60-year-old Fortuna High School graduate leaves behind a husband, children and grandchildren, according to the account, which can be found here.

“Sherry worked constantly and was always there to help someone in need,” the posting reads. “Sherry was the type of person who always did whatever she could to help someone and was a kind, giving soul. Help us honor her memory by coming together for her family to raise money for funeral expenses and other financial hardships that her family should not have to endure in the wake of their tragic loss.”


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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Suspect Eureka Shooter Had Extensive Criminal Record

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 3:27 PM

Ronald Crossland's state inmate photograph. - COURTESY OF CDCR
  • Courtesy of CDCR
  • Ronald Crossland's state inmate photograph.
The man suspected of fatally shooting a woman in Eureka on May 6 before turning the gun on himself hours later in a Fortuna trailer park had an extensive criminal record that included several stints in prison, according to state corrections officials and local law enforcement.

Ronald Allen Crossland, 52, is believed to have shot Fortuna resident Sharral Lynne McDonald, 60, just before 5 p.m. while she was at another woman’s home on the 3300 block of H Street.

EPD public information officer Brittany Powell wrote in an email to the Journal that McDonald “appears” to have known Crossland through the second woman, who was also in the house but unharmed, and the possibility of the shooting being an act of domestic violence is “under investigation.”

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Monday, May 7, 2018

UPDATE: EPD IDs Victim of Sunday's Fatal Shooting

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 8:57 AM

An EPD patrol car sits near the taped off crime scene off H Street. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • An EPD patrol car sits near the taped off crime scene off H Street.

UPDATE: The Eureka Police Department has identified the victim of Sunday’s fatal shooting as Fortuna resident Sharral Lynne McDonald. She was 60.

According to the press release, the suspected shooter Ronald Allen Crossland, 52, who was later found dead in Fortuna of what police are describing as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, knew McDonald, but did not specify their relationship.

Read the EPD release below:
On May 6, 2018, at about 4:52 p.m., officers with the Eureka Police Department (EPD) responded to a residence on the 3300 block of H Street in Eureka for the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers located a female with a gunshot wound and an uninjured female. The uninjured female told officers that the suspect, 52 year old Ronald Allen Crossland, fled the scene in her black Honda Accord. A Be on the Lookout (BOLO) was issued for Crossland and the vehicle. Lifesaving efforts were initiated on the female with the gunshot wound and she was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
Next of kin has been notified and she has been identified as 60 year old Sharral Lynne McDonald of Fortuna. At about 7:22 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) located the black Honda Accord parked near the 2400 block of Fern Street in Cutten. The vehicle was unoccupied. Deputies and officers searched the area but were unable to locate Crossland. Just before 9:00 p.m., the Fortuna Police Department (FOPD) was searching for Crossland near the 300 block of North Fortuna Boulevard based on previous contacts at the location. While on scene, FOPD heard a single gunshot. Crossland was located with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Crossland was known to the uninjured female victim and McDonald; however, the exact motive of the shooting is unknown at this time. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Detective Bise at (707) 441-4109.

PREVIOUS: Eureka police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of a woman in a residence off the 3300 block of H Street that occurred shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday.

Officers responding to the scene reported finding the “deceased adult female” and that a suspect fled the scene in a vehicle, according to EPD Chief Steve Watson’s Twitter posts. The chief followed up a short time later to identify the suspect as 52-year-old Ronald Allen Crossland, who was last seen driving a black Honda Accord. Crossland was wanted for murder, Watson warned, and should be considered armed and dangerous.

About two hours later, Watson tweeted that the suspect’s vehicle had been found unoccupied near Redwood Fields in Cutten. Then, shortly before 11 p.m., Watson tweeted that Crossland “has been confirmed deceased in Fortuna. This is an active, fluid investigation and we’ll release more details later.” Scanner traffic from Fortuna seems to indicate Crossland died of a gunshot wound, though it’s unclear if it was self-inflicted or he was killed by someone else.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Honeydew Store Owners 'Put The Sneak On' Alleged Burglars, Leading to Arrests

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 2:35 PM

A deputy finds the allegedly pilfered smokes. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • A deputy finds the allegedly pilfered smokes.
The Honeydew Store was burglarized last night but it didn’t take long for store owner Bob Shinn to crack the case.

The store’s manager arrived this morning to find the door pried open, the cash boxes gone and several cartons of cigarettes missing. Shinn said he checked the store’s surveillance tapes to find two people had broken into the store at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday. The footage included some good images of their faces and the vehicle they fled the scene in. Shinn said he immediately knew the first place he and his wife should look for the burglars this morning.

“Anytime someone like that has a score they go straight to the casino,” he said.
Bob Shinn speaks with deputies at the scene of the traffic stop and subsequent arrests. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Bob Shinn speaks with deputies at the scene of the traffic stop and subsequent arrests.
So the pair drove up to Bear River Casino and circled the parking lot until they saw the suspect vehicle — a silver sedan. When the suspects — a young couple — left the casino and got in their car, the Shinns tailed them and the couple never suspected a thing.

“We put the sneak on them — we’re from Honeydew,” Shinn said with a smile.

While tailing the car, the Shinns called the sheriff’s office, which dispatched several deputies. When the sedan rolled into Old Town Eureka, the deputies initiated a traffic stop, with a couple of Eureka Police Department patrol cars providing backup, and took the couple into custody.

Inside the sedan, they found a backpack with a stack of cash in it and a bunch of rolls of coins, about a dozen cartoons of cigarettes and a couple cases of soda, all of which the Shinns said came from their store.

A backpack full of cash and coins pulled from the suspect vehicle. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • A backpack full of cash and coins pulled from the suspect vehicle.
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

David Josiah Lawson Remembered

Posted By on Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 9:19 PM

DeShawn Dumas, a cousin of David Josiah Lawson. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • DeShawn Dumas, a cousin of David Josiah Lawson.
Two students stood alone in the middle of the Arcata Plaza in the pelting rain, redirecting mourners. Due to the weather, the vigil and memorial for David Josiah Lawson, a Humboldt State University student who was killed on April 15, 2017, was moved to the D Street Neighborhood Center near campus. By the time Charmaine Lawson, David Josiah's mother, took the microphone, the room was filled beyond capacity, with hundreds of people sitting at the long tables, squatting in the aisles and standing, backed up to the room's double doors. Outside, the HSU Marching Lumberjacks practiced in the rain, the muffled sound of the tuba precipitating Charmaine Lawson's words. Fitting for a celebration of life, the crowd was jovial, exchanging hugs and hellos as children played in a bounce house erected inside. Lawson and Lorna Bryant, who emceed the proceedings, had to shout for quiet.


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Mistrust Led to Ex-FBI Agent's Departure from Lawson Case

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 2:59 PM

David Josiah Lawson - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • David Josiah Lawson
The former FBI agent who had been consulting on the investigation into the homicide of David Josiah Lawson said his decision to step away from the case Monday was the result of his belief that the Arcata Police Department wasn’t being forthright with him or following his recommendations.

Arcata City Manager Karen Diemer doesn’t dispute that a lack of trust emerged between Tom Parker — the former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office who’d been offering his consulting services pro-bono in the Lawson case — and the Arcata Police Department. But Diemer offers a much different view of the status of the case, what brought about Parker’s resignation and the degree to which the department was following Parker’s recommendations before he stepped down.

In an interview with the Journal, Parker says he was last in town “three or four weeks ago” and sat down with then Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman, who resigned Tuesday, and a detective.

“It was clear they were holding back things and not telling me the truth,” Parker says, adding that APD had also not followed numerous previous recommendations he’d offered to aid the investigation. “They had things going on and they wouldn’t tell me what they were.”

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Three Facing Charges for 'International Conspiracy' to Poach Succulents Near Trinidad

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 3:31 PM

Succulent poaching is on the rise, CDFW officials say. - COURTESY OF CDFW
  • Courtesy of CDFW
  • Succulent poaching is on the rise, CDFW officials say.
The growing popularity of using succulents — here and abroad — for decorative plant arrangements is resulting in what state officials are calling a “rising poaching trend on the North Coast,” including the the discovery of an alleged international poaching ring.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials arrested Taehun Kim, 52, and Taeyun Kim, 46, both of Korea, and Liu Fengxia, 37, of China, near Trinidad for allegedly “poaching over 2,300 Dudleya succulent plants near Trinidad in Humboldt County.”


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

(UPDATED WITH SLIDESHOW) #JusticeforJosiah: Students Block Admin Building, Release Demands

Posted By and on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 11:48 AM

Protesters link arms to block entry into the administration building on the Humboldt University Campus to bring awareness to the April 15, 2017, killing of David Josiah Lawson. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Protesters link arms to block entry into the administration building on the Humboldt University Campus to bring awareness to the April 15, 2017, killing of David Josiah Lawson.
A group of about a dozen Humboldt State University students blocked the entrance to the administration building this morning and released a list of demands during a demonstration to call attention to the unsolved killing of David Josiah Lawson.

The demonstration came as a part of 12 days of action leading up to the anniversary of Lawson’s April 15, 2017, stabbing death — with each day representing a month that the slaying has gone unsolved.

Lawson, 19, was fatally stabbed during an altercation at an off-campus party off Spear Avenue. A memorial of flowers at the round-about near the scene at Spear Avenue and West End Road in Arcata remains nearly one year after his death, which sparked ongoing dialogues about race relations in Arcata as Lawson was black and his accused assailant is a white man.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fortuna City Manager Mark Wheetley Receives Jail Time for DUI

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 3:12 PM

Wheetley - CITY OF ARCATA
  • City of Arcata
  • Wheetley
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming confirmed this afternoon that Fortuna city manager Mark Wheetley pleaded guilty to driving involving alcohol   (Vehicle Code section 23103.5, also known as a "wet and reckless") and violation of probation due to a previous DUI arrest. Court commissioner Timothy Canning sentenced Wheetley to three years probation and 15 days in jail.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Goldberg Faces 40 to Life After Conviction

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 4:14 PM

da.png
Jon David Goldberg will face 40 years to life in prison when sentenced May 11 after a jury convicted him Friday of second-degree murder, with an enhancement for personally using a firearm to kill 42-year-old Tim Smith in September of 2016.

After less than two days of deliberations following a month-long trial, the jury came to its unanimous verdict, also acquitting Goldberg of charges that he assaulted his wife with a firearm.

Goldberg, 37, shot and killed Smith at the volunteer fireman’s home on Rohnerville Road in Fortuna at about 1 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2016. The shooting came after Goldberg learned that Smith was having an affair with his wife.

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal prosecuted the case and Goldberg was represented by Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo.

See past Journal coverage of the case here.

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