PREVIOUSLY: Woman Shot and Killed Outside McCullens Motel in Eureka

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Eureka Police Captain Brian Stephens addresses the media. | Photos by Andrew Goff

UPDATE, 7/1: EPD has named both the suspect and the victim

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This afternoon, the Eureka Police Department held a press conference at EPD headquarters, where Captain Brian Stephens announced that a suspect has been taken into custody. The victim, a 19-year-old woman from Eureka, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, Stephens said.

The identify of the victim is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. And releasing the suspect’s name at this point could “compromise the investigation,” Stephens explained.

Two weapons were seized when the suspect was brought into custody — a shotgun and a high-caliber semi-automatic rifle. The rifle is presumed to be the murder weapon, Stephens said. 

The suspect was initially detained for unrelated crimes, but according to Stephens a subsequent investigation provided enough probable cause to connect him with the shooting and he was booked into the Humboldt County jail for murder.

The first officers to arrive at the McCullens Motel this morning noted a vehicle with obvious gunshot damage leaving the scene at a high rate of speed, Stephens said. After an unsuccessful attempt at a traffic stop, officers engaged in car chase through Eureka at speeds between 70 and 80 mph. The pursuit ended in the St. Joseph Hospital parking lot.

Officers then learned that the injured victim was in the car. She was rushed inside where life-saving efforts were administered, Stephens said. The male driver was detained, and he cooperated with the investigation. 

Later in the day, an unrelated call for service led police to the suspect, and he was detained on unrelated crimes. As the homicide investigation progressed, police found probable cause to book him for murder. Officers believe the dispute was between the suspect and the male driver of the vehicle.

This is the first shooting homicide in Eureka in 2016, according to Stephens.

The Eureka Police Department is asking any witnesses to call Detective John Gordon at (707) 441-4300.

Officers examine and document evidence at the scene of the shooting.

UPDATE, 6 p.m.: The Eureka Police Department has issued a press release containing the info given at this afternoon’s press conference:

On June 30, 2016, at approximately 3:04 a.m., officers from the Eureka Police Department responded to reports of shots fired near the intersection of Iowa and McCullens.

As the first officer arrived to investigate, he noticed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed with obvious gunshot damage to the body of the vehicle. The officer attempted an enforcement stop on the vehicle, but the driver failed to yield. Officers pursued the vehicle at speeds between 70 and 80 miles per hour. The pursuit ended when the vehicle pulled into the St. Joseph Hospital parking lot.

Officers learned there was a female gunshot victim in the vehicle. The female was rushed into the emergency room where lifesaving efforts were initiated. The male driver of the vehicle was detained and cooperated with officers. The male stated that the incident occurred in the 1500 block of McCullens Avenue. Officers responded to that vicinity and located the crime scene. The scene was secured and detectives responded to take over the investigation.

The female gunshot victim, 19 of Eureka, succumbed to her injuries. Her identity is being withheld until the next of kin are notified.

While investigating the homicide, an unrelated call for service was dispatched to EPD officers. The suspect from the unrelated call was detained and taken into custody on unrelated charges. As the homicide investigation progressed, detectives discovered enough probable cause to connect this male suspect with the homicide and he was subsequently arrested for murder. The identity of the suspect will be released tomorrow. During the investigation into the homicide suspect, two firearms were located and seized. One firearm was a shotgun and the other was a high powered semi-automatic rifle. The rifle is believed to be the weapon used in the homicide.

Anyone who may have witnessed any of the events that occurred early this morning are asked to contact Detective John Gordon at (707) 441-4300.