HCSO releases new video detailing July chase through Eureka and deputy-involved shooting

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This morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office released video from a July 20 police shooting on the streets of Eureka, which occurred during a car chase around the city and its outskirts.

A passenger in the suspect vehicle had opened fire with an AK-47-style rifle prior to a deputy returning fire. The chase came to an end when the suspects crashed into a civilian vehicle and the intersection of Buhne and Harrison.

In the video, Sheriff William Honsal lays out the series of events that day with the help of a map-based overlay, before cutting to the footage of the two officers who were in a patrol car chasing the suspects. A regular deputy who was serving as a training officer was driving the car; in the passenger’s seat was a trainee.

These deputies are not identified in the video, but Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Samantha Karges tells the Outpost that the driver of the patrol car was Deputy Jordan Walstrom, who has since left the department and has taken a job in Willits, while the trainee was Deputy Zackariah Dickson.

The body cam footage released today begins mid-chase — after the suspect had first fired on deputies, according to Honsal — as officers relay to dispatch that the passenger in the suspect vehicle was carrying a black AK-47. Walstrom, still driving his patrol car, asks Dickson to hand him a rifle and clear away a computer and other material, and to “stay low.” He propped the rifle on the dashboard of his vehicle and continued to drive with his left hand, holding the trigger of the rifle with his right.

According to Honsal’s overview of the incident, when the chase reached the Highland Park area the passenger in the suspect car leaned out the window and pointed the weapon at the officers. In the body cam footage, Walstrom can be seen firing four rounds through his windshield at the fleeing vehicle. The footage then fast-forwards to the traffic collision that ended the chase at Buhne and Harrison, and which point a tense standoff ensues and the occupants of the suspect car are taken into custody.

Two Eureka men were arrested at the scene — Darrike Miles McKeown, the driver of the car, and Jared Eli Aubrey, the passenger who allegedly fired on the deputies.

Asked about Walstrom’s unusual use of force — firing a rifle at suspects through his own windshield while continuing to drive — Karges told the Outpost that an administrative review panel determined that the deputy broke no internal policy in doing so, but that the incident will inspire new training scenarios in the department.

“We don’t train on that and it is unusual, however it is not outside of policy,” Karges said. “It’s not a recommended style of firing a weapon, however it is not restricted.”

Karges added that the fact that Dickson was still a trainee likely contributed to Walstrom’s decision-making in the moment.

The county’s Critical Incident Response Team — the interagency task force that reviews all police use-of-deadly-force incidents in the county — is still reviewing the case, Honsal says in the conclusion of the video.

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