Darling Uses a Pitchfork During Attack says HCSO

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 4:05 p.m. / Crime

Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Dept. Press Release:

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville. When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand. Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


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I Justifiably ‘Shot’ a ‘Man’ During My Force Option Simulator Training at CR (VIDEO)

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:39 p.m. / Crime

Above: One of these guns is real, one is the most high-tech laser tag gun you’ve ever held.

For my first assignment as an officer with LoCOPD, I was sent to a nondescript suburban house on a report of domestic violence. Upon hearing screaming inside, I entered the home through the already open front door. Once inside I was confronted by a loud, violent and somewhat-physical dispute taking place between an erratic woman in tears and a combative man cradling an infant under one arm.

Timidly and awkwardly I attempted to defuse the situation. I told the man to put down the baby and informed the woman that her actions really weren’t helping. This was my first crack at such an assignment. Maybe I should’ve spoken more authoritatively.

For whatever reason, my presence further agitated the man, who eventually picked up a rolling pin from the counter and charged at me swinging. I pulled my gun and shot him in the upper torso, missing the child. He dropped to the floor and the baby landed softly on his now motionless chest. The wailing mother picked the baby up. Then the screen went black.

Thus ended my first tour of duty on College of the Redwoods’ state-of-the-art Force Option Simulator (FOS), a realistic, high-def video scenario generator featuring live actors, laser-emitting firearms and a whole lotta drama.

“You did pretty well,” EPD officer Drake Goodale told me — he’s one of the instructors trained to operate the system. I was told that, all things considered, I’d acted appropriately in executing lethal force on the baby-carrying father.

“That’s what we call a crap sandwich,” Goodale said of the grim scenario I’d participated in.

The Eureka Police Department’s public information team had graciously extended an invitation to local media for an opportunity to experience one of the more high-tech tools being used to train officers for dangerous, real-world situations. This latest system, acquired only in the last few months and housed at the College of the Redwoods Administration of Justice Program/Law Enforcement Training Center, was gifted to the school by the State of California. It’s worth about $150,000. 

While LoCO most certainly was impressed and tickled by the smoothness of the program — it was fun, OK? — our instructors stressed how seriously they take the trainings. Our presentation began with a Powerpoint list of officers recently killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The list was set to a bagpipe-led version of “Amazing Grace.” Local law enforcement takes this stuff seriously. 

“At the end of the day, having to use deadly force is the least desired outcome,” said another of our instructors, EPD Sergeant Steve Watson. “Everyone would like to be in a situation where it deescalates.”

And the potential for deescalation exists within the simulations. Each scenario has within it multiple potential branches which are controlled by a nearby instructor plopped at a computer monitor. Based on an officer’s verbal commands and actions, the instructor may remotely control the onscreen actor’s decision to submit to authority, as the elderly drunk man peeing behind a dumpster did in one of our trainings. (He just wanted to go home.) 

Above: News Channel 3 reporter Lashay Wesley receives some brief weapons training from EPD officer Drake Goodale.

Our instructors claimed that, when force is used by officers, those actions are proved to be reasonable and justified 99.58 percent of the time. (Of course, those decisions are sometimes challenged successfully in civil cases.) In an attempt to make sure officers stay properly trained — and also to satisfy requirements set by the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST), EPD and various other local law enforcement agencies participated in mass FOS trainings.

“You have the stress of all your peers watching you and judging what you’re doing,” Watson said of the trainings. “Everyone wants to do well.”

Above: Officer Goodale presents some of the laser-fied training weapons, including TASERs and pepper spray. Below: Goodale reacts to a scenario wherein he is asked to take on the role of an off-duty officer confronted by a would-be carjacker.



[UPDATED] Breaking News: Reports of a Suicidal Subject Jumping off 101 Bridge South of Benbow

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 2:38 p.m. / News

Emergency vehicles arrive at the scene just south of Benbow. [Photo provided by Shanda Centeno]

According to scanner traffic, a male subject jumped off a Hwy 101 bridge near Benbow into the Eel River by Fish Creek Canyon Road. Emergency services have arrived to assist.   

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: According to Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office, the subject was taken to a hospital.

From past experience, because of privacy concerns on these types of situations, there will be minimal information released.



Virginia Bass Ad Pays Homage to Obama

Ryan Burns / Yesterday @ 12:07 p.m. / Politics

The above ad was just dropped by the “Virginia Bass for Supervisor 2014” campaign. It features a young woman staring into the camera and speaking coquettishly about her “first time.”

“Can I let you in on a little secret?” she asks. “I’ve never done this before, and I’m a little nervous.”

Yowza, you guys. Is this, like, a virgin about to embark on her first sexual experience?

“Your first time,” she continues. “You want it to be with somebody special, not some slacker.”

Fair enough.

“Someone who will listen to local businesses and neighbors when issues arise.”

Wait. Whaaaaat?

Turns out (SPOILER ALERT!!!) she’s talking about her first time voting! Does that make challenger Chris Kerrigan the unidentified “slacker”?

At any rate, this clever metaphorical bait-and-switch might sound familiar if you’re a web-savvy fan of “Girls” or our Commander in Chief:



Accident Near Redcrest Last Night/Passenger Airlifted Out of the Area

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 10:14 a.m. / News

Garberville CHP Press Release:

On April 21, 2014, at approximately 2311 hours, a 2008 GMC Yukon driven by 26 year old Courtney Patterson, of Rio Dell, CA, was traveling northbound on US-101, north of Redcrest.  28 year old Rad Kellar, of Rio Dell, CA, was the right rear passenger and 23 year old Megan Massimo, of Prescott, AZ, was the right front passenger.  For reasons still under investigation, the GMC ran off the east roadway edge of US-101 where it collided with a tree. 

The driver and right rear passenger sustained minor injuries and were not transported.  The right front passenger sustained major injuries and was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna, where she was to be airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  The driver and both passengers were determined to have been wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision and the airbags of the GMC did deploy. 

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.  Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the cause of this collision.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the accident as having occurred on the Avenue.



One On One With Allan Dollison

Cliff Berkowitz / Yesterday @ 7:57 a.m. / Politics

This morning I spoke one on one with DA candidate Allan Dollison for about 15 minutes. We discussed his qualifications and priorities. I also gave him a chance to explain his 16 counts of misconduct and falsifying court documents. 

(AUDIO) Allan Dollison on KHUM



Fund Started for Crash Victim’s Young Family

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 7:05 a.m. / Community

Tommy Ruiz, the victim in this weekend’s fatal crash on Broadway, left behind a wife and two children. His employer, Mickey’s Quality Cars, has started a fundraising account to help the young family.

The goal is to gather $5000 to ease the burden on Ruiz’s young widow and two small sons. Just a little donation from many of our readers could go a long way to assist the family. 

We’ve seen some amazing community efforts here on the LoCO. People have pulled together and started cleanups of littered areas, found stolen items as well as helped victims of various personal disasters. 

The money raised for the young family so far is $1675. In the name of the two boys who will grow up without a father, could we double that today, LoCO? 

If you’d like to help, it doesn’t take much—just a couple of minutes to fill out the form and whatever small gift  you feel comfortable making. If everyone who read this just donated a dollar, we’d reach our goal in under an hour. 

Click this link to begin helping the two young boys and their mother.