The Eureka Police Department has released additional information on the events that ended with officers shooting and killing a man who fought with them after fleeing from a traffic stop near the Ingomar Club over the weekend.

The man killed has been identified as 31-year-old Cutten resident Matthew Williams. Read EPD’s telling of his death below: 

This press release is an update to the November 26, 2023 officer involved shooting with information current as of today.

On November 26, 2023, at about 9:36 a.m., a Eureka Police Department officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for expired registration, on M Street, north of 2nd Street. When the vehicle stopped, the right front passenger immediately exited the vehicle and began fleeing on foot; the male ran east along a walkway north of the Ingomar Club and towards the northside of the Humboldt County Library. The officer conducting the traffic stop did not pursue the male.

While the officer who conducted the traffic stop remained with the vehicle and its two occupants, nearby officers responded to check the vicinity for the male who fled. An officer located the male as he was attempting to scale a fence to the north side of the Clara Mayberry Park, which was closed. Utilizing verbal commands, the officer attempted to gain voluntary compliance for the male to stop. However, the male refused to comply and a physical altercation ensued.

A second officer arrived to assist. The male then produced a pistol which he held in his right hand. During the altercation, the male was able to manipulate the firearm’s slide, chambering a live round.

Photo of the firearm in the male’s hand, captured from the officer’s body worn camera

Photo of the male chambering a live round, captured from the officer’s body worn cameras

At this point during the altercation, shots were fired by officers and the male was struck by the gunfire. It’s unknown at this time if the male fired his handgun during the altercation.

The male was then quickly detained and life-saving efforts were immediately provided by officers followed closely by Humboldt Bay Fire. The male succumbed to his injuries while on scene. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed which will provide further details on the extent of the male’s injuries. The male has been identified as 31-year-old Cutten resident, Matthew Robert Williams.

Matthew Robert Williams

Williams was found to be in possession of 42 grams of fentanyl, a large amount of cash, and had several outstanding felony warrants for his arrest. The firearm Williams possessed has been determined to be a ghost gun. (A ghost gun is an un-serialized and untraceable firearm.)

The officer that conducted the original traffic stop left that location to assist the officers who had been involved in the shooting. The vehicle and occupants left the area and were later located by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. The occupants were interviewed and the vehicle was towed as evidence.

Firearm recovered from Williams

The shooting was captured on one of the officer’s body worn camera. However, the body camera from the second officer suffered a malfunction and did not capture the incident.

All body worn camera and audio footage will be released in accordance with state law.

One officer has over 7 years of experience in law enforcement. The second officer has over 4 years of experience in law enforcement. Their names will be released at a later time in accordance with state law. Both officers suffered minor injuries as a result of the altercation and incident. The officers have both been placed on paid Administrative Leave per department protocol.

As is standard protocol within Humboldt County, the multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is handling the criminal investigation. Upon completion, the investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Eureka Police Department has initiated an Internal Shooting Review that will run concurrent with the criminal investigation being conducted by CIRT. The Internal Shooting Review determines whether involved officers followed departmental policy, identifies potential policy and procedural changes, and any training needs. Once completed, this report will be reviewed by the City of Eureka Independent Police Auditor (IPA) who will report to the Community Oversight on Police Practices (COPP) board.

This is an on-going investigation. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Bailey with the Eureka Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at 707- 441-4215 or DA Investigator G. Hill at 707-268-2553.