SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. – The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said on Saturday that they arrested 14 people for entering and refusing to leave the Lava Fire evacuation zone in and around the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, those arrests included a man who “pushed a county employee with a vehicle and ran a roadblock.”
The Sheriff’s Office also said that because their resources are focused on protecting life and property, “it is extremely challenging when people intentionally disobey orders and interfere with operations.” They said this kind of activity slows down the progress of containing fires and interferes with safety measures.
“If areas are under evacuation order, it is imperative to stay out of the area for our own safety and the safety of those working in the area,” the Sheriff’s Office reiterated on Saturday.
An officer-involved shooting (OIS) occurred earlier in the week at the same location – the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Tuesday that officers shot and killed a man during evacuations prompted by the Lava Fire in the subdivision, which is an area increasingly notorious for the proliferation of marijuana grows and a corresponding crackdown by the County.
According to the Sheriff's Office, law enforcement officers were assisting in evacuations from the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision on Monday evening, shortly after 8:30 p.m., due to the Lava Fire's rapid wind-driven expansion to the north. Firefighters were staging at the intersection of Shasta Vista Drive and County Road A-12 while officers assisted motorists at the intersection.
Law enforcement had closed the southbound lane of County Road A-12 to stop any traffic from entering Mount Shasta Vista, now under a mandatory evacuation order. Officers were directing traffic north along the road toward Grenada.
The Sheriff's Office said that the driver of a GMC pickup starting approaching County Road A-12 from Shasta Vista Drive, and officers directed the driver to turn north, away from the evacuation zone. According to the agency, the GMC driver ignored those directions and started heading southbound.
"While the law enforcement officer was communicating with the driver, the driver raised his hand and pointed a semi-auto handgun at the officers," the Sheriff's Office said.
Officers from the Sheriff's Office, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Etna Police Department all opened fire at the driver, killing him.
"Fire personnel quickly administered medical aid to the driver of the vehicle; however, he did not recover, and was pronounced dead at the scene," the agency continued.
The Sheriff's Office statement said that the driver "may have fired several rounds" at the officers prior to them opening fire based on the initial information from the scene.
All of the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Critical Incident Team, led by the Siskiyou County District Attorney's Office, conducts an investigation.
The Sheriff's Office issued evacuations for the Mount Shasta Vista area on Monday afternoon as the Lava Fire surged northward.