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Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a Happy Camp man early this morning after a woman was killed in Orleans. At about 3 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a report that there had been a shooting on State Route 96 near the Orleans Elementary School. Deputies learned that earlier in the evening the victim and two friends had been inside a bar in Happy Camp. When they left the bar they discovered their truck, a brown Ford flatbed, had been stolen. The victim telephoned her husband, James Arnold Roberts, 30, and asked for his helped. Roberts drove to the bar to pick them up. They decided to look for the stolen vehicle and traveled south on SR 96 towards Orleans. About one mile north of Orleans they found the truck parked along the highway but nobody was with the vehicle. The group continued along the highway, reportedly looking for anybody who may have stolen the vehicle. When they arrived in Orleans they saw a group of juveniles near the elementary school. The group got out of the vehicle and approached the juveniles. Witnesses indicated that the victim, Robert’s wife, had become involved in a physical fight with the group of juveniles. At some point during that confrontation Roberts returned to his vehicle and retrieved a firearm. During the continuing fight, Roberts’ firearm discharged, striking his wife. Roberts then placed his wife inside his vehicle and drove her back to Happy Camp. There he made contact with ambulance personnel at the ambulance staging area in Happy Camp. The victim's wound was fatal and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff’s Detectives arrived in Happy Camp and arrested Roberts for murder.
Roberts was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. He is expected to be arraigned by Wednesday.
The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
This case is still under investigation; detectives are continuing to interview witnesses. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Wayne Hanson at (707) 268-3639.
Additional information will be released as it becomes available and appropriate.