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Location: Willow Creek
Shortly before 11:00 last night the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of shots fired near School and Anderson Roads in McKinleyville. The reporting party indicated the suspects were driving a gold Jeep Grand Cherokee had fired several shots from an AK-47 assault rifle. A short time later another caller reported seeing somebody in a gold Jeep Grand Cherokee waving a weapon out the window on Giuntoli Road in Arcata. A sheriff’s deputy responded to the area and spotted the vehicle traveling eastbound on Hwy 299. The deputy followed the vehicle at a distance while waiting for additional deputies to arrive. With additional sheriff’s units in place, deputies attempted to conduct a car stop on the vehicle. The driver failed to yield but instead accelerated with deputies in pursuit. About five miles into pursuit the passenger in the Jeep fired three to four shots at the pursuing deputies. The suspects fired at deputies six more time – each time firing between two and four rounds.
Officers from the California Highway Patrol arrived to assist and placed a spike strip near mile marker 36. As the suspects approached, they fired on the CHP officers, striking two of their vehicles. The vehicle continued for approximately one more mile until it slowed and exited the roadway into a gravel turnout. The Jeep struck a three-foot dirt barrier that bordered the turnout and then went over the side of the highway. The car came to rest about 200 yards below the roadway.
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A short time later one of the occupants was spotted climbing back up the embankment. He appeared to have sustained a gunshot wound to his head but was alert and responsive. He indicated he had attempted to kill himself. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. He was transported to a local hospital where he was stabilized; he was later transported out of the area for further medical treatment.
The second person in the vehicle was located near the vehicle. He was deceased and appeared to have a bullet wound to the head. His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin.
Neither Sheriff’s Deputies nor CHP Officers fired their weapons during the incident. No law enforcement officers were injured. The California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the case. The injured man has not been arrested as the investigation is still in the early stages.