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Shovel-wielding man arrested for hate crime and arson in Redding

A Redding man was arrested by police after smashing windows to a home, yelling racist slurs to African American residents, shortly before lighting a fire in their backyard.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 5:17 PM

REDDING, Calif. – A Redding man was arrested by police after smashing windows to a home, yelling racist slurs to African American residents, shortly before lighting a fire in their backyard.

On July 29, at approximately 8:38 p.m.., Redding Police Officers responded to calls of a suspect holding an axe while standing in front of a residence in the 5000 block of Eastside Road in south Redding.

Police said the suspect, later identified as 56-year-old Robert Hardberger of Redding, was threatening the occupants of the residence and saying he wanted to kill the police.

Officers said they staged nearby the scene of the call but stayed out of sight and allowed the reporting party who was communicating with Hardberger to try and resolve the situation peacefully. The reporting party had communicated with police that Hardberger may leave on his own.

However, as officers were speaking with the reporting party, Hardberger obtained a shovel, broke out a window to the residence and began yelling racial slurs towards people inside the residence. He then threatened the lives of the individuals inside and started to light a fire near the residence.

Officers quickly located Hardberger in the backyard, where he had managed to start a small fire near the residence and left a gas can in the path of the fire, according to police. The fire was quickly extinguished, but Hardberger was now threatening not only to kill the individuals of the residence, but the officers as well.

Hardberg was holding and swinging a shovel and challenging officers to confront him, according to police. Officers said it became clear he was extremely intoxicated and he was not listening to commands.

Redding Police said Hardberg was slowly closing the distance between himself and the officers on scene while swinging the shovel and refusing to drop the shovel. When Hardberg got close enough to pose a threat, officers said they shot him one time with a less lethal bean bag round. However, it only agitated him and he continued to get closer to the officers. He was shot with two more bean bag rounds and was successfully taken into custody without further incident.

Hardberg was transported to Mercy Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained due to the bean bag rounds. When he is released from the hospital he will be booked into the Shasta County Jail.

According to Redding Police, Hardberger was arrested in June of 2020 after officers responded to his residence because he brandished a bayonet at a victim and was playing what he described as “Nazi music,” according to police. He was also arrested in May of 2020 after he recklessly discharged a firearm multiple times. 20 firearms were seized from him during this arrest.

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