Tuesday, October 17, 2017

UPDATE: Two Juveniles Arrested in Dinsmore Homicide

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 3:57 PM


The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the Arcata Police Department, arrested two juveniles on Monday, Oct. 16 in connection with the homicide of Richard Falk. The Journal has reached out to the sheriff's office to confirm whether or not the juveniles, one male, one female, were related to Falk, and will update when we have more information.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has identified the 68-year-old man found dead in the front yard of his Buck Mountain home as Richard Dennis Falk and is officially investigating the case as a homicide.

An autopsy performed on Falk determined he died of multiple gunshot wounds. Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Fridley said there are no indications that the killing was a robbery or burglary gone wrong and said there are multiple persons of interest in the case. He declined to offer any further details, saying the investigation is still in its infancy.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information about the case to call 445-7251.

The full press release is copied below our original post.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Willow Creek Man Killed in Truck-Horse Collision

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 1:06 PM

A Hoopa man traveling northbound on Country Club Road in Willow Creek struck and killed a horse and its rider Sunday night. Timothy Robert Ulrich, 50, was crossing a bridge approaching Seeley McIntosh Road in a Ford F150 and failed to notice Kenneth Wayne Brock, 67, astride a horse traveling south in the northbound lane of the bridge.

According to the press release from the California Highway Patrol, Ulrich noticed an unrelated vehicle in the southbound lane, also crossing the bridge, but did not see the white horse, which was on the bridge's east shoulder. When he did see the horse, he attempted to swerve away but ultimately hit the horse's side and shoulder, ejecting Brock. Brock hit the bridge, sustaining major injuries. The Willow Creek man was transported to Mad River Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The horse died at the scene.

DUI is not believed to be a factor in the collision.

The crash brings the total number of roadway deaths in Humboldt County in 2017 up to 26.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Garberville Man Found Dead in Eel River

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 33-year-old man whose body was found in the South Fork of the Eel River north of Redway last week.

Deputies responded shortly after 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 to a report of a body in the river and found it just upstream of the bridge used to access Eel River Conservation Camp No. 31. The body has been identified as that of a Garberville man, according to Sheriff's Lt. Mike Fridley, but his next of kin is out of the country and officials are holding off on releasing his name until she can be notified.

Fridley said it appears the man's body had been in the water "a while" and it's currently unclear what circumstances led to his death. "There's a lot of things it could be," Fridley said, adding that there's an autopsy scheduled for tomorrow.

Officials ask that anyone with information about the case call the sheriff's office at 445-7251.

See the full press release from the sheriff's office copied below:

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

UPDATED: How to Help Victims of Sonoma, Napa & Mendo Fires

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 10:44 AM

UPDATE: Allison reports that so many donations have been flooding in, a trailer and/or additional vehicles and drivers are necessary. Also, click here for a link of all emergency services and needed donations for fire victims in Petaluma.


Eureka City Councilmember Austin Allison is driving supplies to people affected by the wildfires south of us. Since the fires began on Sunday night, at least 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes and 11 people have been reported dead, according to CNN.

Allison, a cardiac monitor technologist, originally wanted to travel down and offer medical aid but found volunteers had already stepped up to fill that need. So he volunteered to drive supplies down in his personal vehicle, possibly convoying with a friend. Humboldt Bay Fire offered its facility at  533 C St. in Eureka as a drop-off point. Those interested in donating supplies can bring them by until 7 p.m. today. Allison will be calling emergency operation centers in the affected regions to find out where supplies are most needed before driving down.

Here's what you can donate:

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UPDATE: 15 Confirmed Deaths, Dozens Missing in Fires, 101 Reopens

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 10:19 AM

A plan drops a fire suppressant on a blaze yesterday near Blue Lake. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • A plan drops a fire suppressant on a blaze yesterday near Blue Lake.
UPDATE: Some 17 fires have raced through areas of California over the past two days with 15 confirmed deaths, another 100 people reported missing and an estimated 115,000 acres burned when a perfect storm of gusty winds and low humidity swept across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Butte, Yuba, Lake, Nevada and Orange counties.

Meanwhile, U.S. Highway 101 has reopened in Mendocino County and in Santa Rosa but internet and phone outages continue.

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire reports via Twitter that 77 cell sites were down at the peak of the widespread outage due to power loss or fire damage. He says “35 are now up and running, more expected online today. Also working a fiber cut in Mendocino Co. Will have an update this afternoon."

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that the main station is having phone and internet access issues. A fax machine has been converted to receive non-emergency calls at 445-7298. Residents can also try the following numbers:
If the line is busy, try the McKinleyville station at 839-6600 or the Garberville substation at 923-2761. The jail can be reached at 441-5129.

PREVIOUS: Strong winds are fanning the flames of devastating wildfires throughout state and the region, prompting the closure of U.S. Highway 101 near Redwood Valley and evacuations in several counties, including Butte, Mendocino Napa, Nevada and Sonoma.

Just around 9 a.m., Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Much of California, including Humboldt and Del Norte counties, remains under a red flag warning today, according to the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, with the potential destructive combination of gusty winds from the north-northwest and low humidity in the forecast.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

UPDATE: Arcata's 911 Back Up, Eureka and Fortuna Having Issues With Non-Emergency Lines

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 12:42 PM

UPDATE: Arcata’s 911 system is back up after a phone outage connected early today due to the devastating wildfires burning to the south.

At least two other Humboldt County cities are also experiencing phone issues, but not with emergency service lines. The Eureka City Hall’s lines are down and the Fortuna Police Department reports that callers may have difficulty reaching the business lines.

Residents are reminded to only use 911 in the case of an emergency.

Notice from the Arcata Police Department:

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Humboldt Deputy on Vegas Shooting: 'Everyone Was Helping'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard at the concert before the shooting. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard at the concert before the shooting.
A local couple, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard, were standing in front of the stage on the last day of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when the shooting started.

They saw people around them fall to the ground, but were able escaped unharmed and have returned home. While both are declining media interviews at this time, Del Biaggio released a first-hand account of what they experienced in those 72 minutes of terror that took 59 lives and injured more than 500.

Read Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio personal account below:
"It was during the last performer of the night. We got to the show early, so we had made our way to the front of the stage.

At one point, we heard what sounded like firecrackers, that's what the audience thought it was.

Shortly after that, they started again, and we started to see people drop in front of us. Time doesn't really add up, but we dropped to the ground and I covered up Tierra.

We waited until the gunfire stopped and started to run towards the back. As we were running, there was another bust of gunfire as we were about halfway to the exit.
People were calling to "cover up the women," and a few people jumped on us to shield us from the gunfire.

When it stopped again, we made our way to the back of the venue where some people had already pushed out the back wall of a bar.

Around this time we ran into a LVPD officer who told us "Mandalay Bay, 15th floor."

In retrospect, this information [on the presumed location of the shooter] was key in keeping us safe, since we avoided the line of fire from that point on.

We came out of the building in a strange parking lot full of semi-trucks.
This was when I had a chance to pull up a map on my phone of the surrounding area to get my bearings.

This is when we finally had a chance to call our parents, to let them know we were OK and find out what was happening.

The community was amazing. Uber and Lyft drivers were just picking people up. We saw a girl in shock whose father had been shot and went with her to the hospital in an Uber that stopped for us.

There was no selfishness, everyone was helping.

I can honestly say that tunnel vision kicked in, the stress response was incredible. I can’t remember the emotion on people's faces, screams, any of that. I can only remember gunfire, and the silence when it wasn't there.

I really think that my LEO training was instrumental in the whole thing. When it happened, I really felt that the training came back, the feeling of take cover, all the things they teach you made a difference. It was a tough feeling being in the civilian role, not able to help, but lookingback our training helped to keep us safe.

We are doing OK, but I definitely have pangs of shock, disbelief, confusion and especiallysadness for the victims, people that can't come home."

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

No Apparent Link in Cases of Homeless Men Awaking to Flames

Posted By on Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 11:37 AM

Arcata police are still trying to figure out who set the Sept. 16 fire at the Arcata Presbyterian Church and why. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Arcata police are still trying to figure out who set the Sept. 16 fire at the Arcata Presbyterian Church and why.
The recent incidents set exactly one week apart in Arcata and Eureka appeared remarkably similar at first: Homeless men sleeping on the steps of a building waking up to flames. One was severely injured while the other managed to get out of his sleeping bag before getting burned.

Police department officials in the two cities say they immediately began investigating whether the cases were linked but evidence is showing key differences between the two. Most importantly, there was no sign of an accelerant or a broken container for a Molotov cocktail in the Sept. 23 fire at the Job Market building in Eureka near the jail, where the man escaped injury.

“I don't know if we will ever be able to conclusively 100 percent say it wasn't arson or targeted but the detective is leaning toward no at this time,” Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said in an email to the Journal on Friday. “He did find and re-interview the man, who confirmed he didn't actually see what happened.”

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Ohio man who was badly burned while sleeping on the steps of a historic Arcata church remains hospitalized.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Few Answers in Death of 21-Year Old Omaha Resident

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 12:07 PM

Neither the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office nor the Garberville office of the California Highway Patrol has been willing to disclose details about the death of Drake Gammell, the 21 year old who was taken off life support Wednesday after being found with "major injuries" Sept. 24.

Gammell, who is from Omaha, Nebraska, was reported as being "down in the roadway" on the Avenue of the Giants about a mile north of Philipsville, in Southern Humboldt, shortly after 1 a.m. on Sept. 24. The driver of a vehicle at the scene, Chelsea Leanne Cookston, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol but was released on her own recognizance later that morning. She has so far not been charged in the case, according to Humboldt County Superior Court records.

Neither the HCSO or the CHP would answer Journal questions about how Gammell sustained his injuries. An autopsy was conducted, and the sheriff's office's investigation is ongoing. Garberville CHP officer William Wonderlich said his agency's involvement was limited to arresting Cookston under suspicion of DUI.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Alderpoint Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 'Armed and Dangerous' Suspect Sought

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 11:54 AM

A 2016 booking photo of Zachary Harrison. - COURTESY OF THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • A 2016 booking photo of Zachary Harrison.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is searching for a 27-year-old man in connection with a fatal shooting in Alderpoint on Saturday.

Officials said Zachary Cordell Harrison was last seen leaving the scene of the Sixth Street homicide just before 3 p.m. in a black Ford F250 with Oregon plates. He is considered armed and dangerous, according to the sheriff's office press release.

A witness and the victim, 58-year-old Robert James Holtsclaw, were stopped at a gate when Harrison reportedly fired one shot while standing next to the vehicle, according to the release. The witness ran to a nearby house to call for help. Holtsclaw died at the scene.

The shooting remains under investigation. Officials are urging anyone who spots Harrison to call 911.

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