PREVIOUSLY:Eureka Police Paying a Visit to Devil’s Playground Today


From the Eureka Police Department:

On November 26, 2014, at about 9:30 AM, Eureka Police Department detectives executed a search warrant at an illegal transient camp located in the greenbelt along Humboldt Bay between Vigo and West Del Norte Streets. The warrant was obtained in furtherance of the investigation into the apparent accidental shooting which occurred there on November 19, 2014.

Billy Joe Rutherford, age 44, was located inside his tent and detained. During a search of his campsite, detectives collected evidence pertaining to the shooting investigation. Detectives also located and seized a number of items unlawfully possessed by Rutherford including a small quantity of ammunition, prescription medication, concentrated cannabis, a large quantity of marijuana, and illegal weapons including a switchblade knife and shuriken (throwing star).

Rutherford was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for violation of his probation, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possession of concentrated cannabis. Additionally, Rutherford was arrested on outstanding warrants alleging possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale (felony), brandishing a firearm, and assault and battery (misdemeanors).

Upon completion of the shooting investigating, including a forensic examination of the evidence, a criminal case will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office and additional charges against Rutherford may follow.

A second male contacted at the campsite, Frederick Stephen Simpson (age 57), was also arrested and booked on outstanding warrants alleging possession of a controlled substance (felony) and unlawful camping (misdemeanor).

Rutherford’s illegal campsite was removed as part of the operation along with a second nearby campsite where the stolen firearms were located following last week’s shooting. Several truck loads of garbage were removed from the two camps along with approximately 18 bicycles and bicycle frames suspected to be stolen.

Open buckets containing human waste were found behind Rutherford’s camp. Due to the vast amount of junk and garbage found at both campsites, officials were unable to remove all of it during the approximately 4 hour operation. Follow-up operations are being planned to remove the tremendous amount of rubbish and numerous other illegal camps in that area. EPD’s homeless liaison was on hand during the process to offer resources and alternatives to others. EPD was also assisted by employees from the City of Eureka’s Parks and Recreation Department.