Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On April 30, 2020, at about 2:42 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 3400 block of Harville Lane in Hydesville for the report of a physical altercation with one person having been tased.


Upon further investigation, deputies learned that an ongoing neighbor dispute regarding property lines had become physical when the 50-year-old male victim attempted to move vegetation near the property line using a skid-steer.

While the victim was operating the skid-steer, the suspect, 75-year-old Richard John French, reportedly approached the victim with a machete, attempting to strike the victim multiple times. The victim withdrew his legally concealed firearm and requested that French put down the machete. French then reportedly threw the machete at the victim and continued to approach. A third-party witness to the incident then reportedly stepped in and tased French, who stayed on the ground until first responders arrived on scene.

French was transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and was then booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm (PC 245(a)(1)). His bail is set at $35,000.

Due to misinformation circulating in our community regarding this incident, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to clarify that this incident did not at any time involve a College of the Redwoods Basic Law Enforcement Academy student.

This case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.