APD Chief Tom Chapman | AG

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman provided more details regarding Tuesday night’s officer-involved shooting in front of the Shell gas station at the corner of G and 14th streets while also taking time to put in perspective what the incident means to his department and the community.  

“These are horrible incidents that we have to deal with in law enforcement,” Chapman said before mentioning that this is the first time a person has been injured by an Arcata Police officer discharging their firearm since April 1, 1980. 

Your Lost Coast Outpost attended the meeting and will have a more, here, in a bit. In the meantime, APD has released its most thorough account of last night’s incident which you can read below:

On May 17, 2016 at 6:43pm, officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to the corner of 14th and G Streets after a citizen reported a man drinking alcohol from an open container and swinging two sticks in an aggressive manner. 

Two APD officers arrived at 6:51pm where they encountered the 26-year-old man at the corner. Civilian witnesses, in-car camera footage from three police cars and surveillance footage confirmed the man was in possession of two weapons, a 3’ long wooden stick, similar to a thick dowel and a metal cane. The man had a weapon in each hand and was aggressively swinging the weapons in a martial arts style.

The man, whose identity will not be released at this time, pending further investigation, refused to drop the weapons as instructed by the police officers. Both officers attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation. However, the man began approaching the police officers while swinging both weapons. Suddenly, the man charged directly at one of the officers while raising the metal cane over his head in an apparent attempt to assault the police officer. One police officer immediately deployed a taser however it had no effect on the charging man. 

At 6:54pm, moments after the discharge of the taser, while under attack, a police officer discharged his firearm in rapid succession four times, striking the man. The man sustained one gunshot wound to his right arm, one to his right leg and two gunshot wounds to his torso. 

Once the man was subdued, officers began life saving efforts and immediately called for an ambulance. At approximately 6:58pm an ambulance arrived on scene. The man was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. He remains in critical, but stable condition.

The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) responded to investigate. CIRT is comprised of investigators from the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Eureka Police Department and Fortuna Police Department.

As is standard protocol, both police officers have been placed on administrative leave. The identity of the involved police officers will be released within the next day.

At the conclusion of the investigation conducted by CIRT, their investigation will be submitted to the Humboldt County District Attorney.