Be careful where you point your weapon.
That might be the takeaway from a shooting last week on a dark bridge in Eureka, California involving two deputies and a man in a Corvette.
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal released new details at a press conference Tuesday about the shooting that occurred July 14 at 10 p.m. in the middle of Martin Ferry Bridge.
Deputies approached what they considered a suspicious vehicle, a black C5 Corvette coupe, and Corporal Max Soeth saw the Corvette driver, later identified as George Robbins of Hoopa, pointing a .44 caliber Ruger handgun toward him and Deputy Cumbow.
“Sixteen rounds were fired by Deputy Soeth, six rounds were fired by Deputy Cumbow,” Sheriff Honsal said. “At that time they believed that was the amount of rounds needed to stop the threat.”
Honsal said there was little interaction between the deputies and Robbins, noting that the marked patrol car was still rolling “and that’s when Corporal Soeth yelled, Gun! And the car came to a stop and both exited the patrol car” and opened fire.
Miraculously, Robbins wound up suffering only minor wounds to his face and the back side of his left shoulder. At the hospital, he told members of the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team that he was a security guard keeping an eye on construction equipment staged on Highway 169.
According to the sheriff, Robbins said he was blinded by the patrol car’s headlights and couldn’t tell who was in the vehicle, so he reached into the back of the car for the weapon he had borrowed from a friend.
Robbins “believed the vehicle was just his cousin” and “didn’t realize it was the Sheriff’s Office until the fire erupted,” Honsal said. “He ducked down and waited for the fire to stop, and then he gave up.”
Based on the photos from the scene, it’s a good thing Robbins did duck because there are multiple gunshot holes in the windshield at about head level.
Honsal said there is no evidence that Robbins fired his weapon at the deputies. Nevertheless, Robbins was booked into the Humboldt County Jail for pointing a loaded firearm at a peace officer. He also did not have a license to carry a loaded firearm in public or in a vehicle, nor did he have a concealed weapons permit with the county.
Charges will be requested with the district attorney’s office for carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle and brandishing a firearm at a peace officer.
The construction company that hired Robbins said he was not supposed to have a weapon while he was working security.
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