REDDING – On Wednesday this week we reported a story of John Charles Wilkinson who, according to police, was arrested when police were investigating reports of people trying to go through cars at the Hilltop Garden Inn on Bechelli Lane near Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River. Though he wasn’t directly seen as one of the people casing the cars and trying to gain entry, he was spotted nearby and contacted for questioning.
When approached by police, he was said to become violent, threatening them with a stick, saying he would die before going to jail, and fleeing towards the river, falling, and then going into the water. He eventually came out, and was arrested, but not before fighting with a police K9 unit and being subdued by police with their batons.
A person claiming to be a family member contacted CrimeVoice and provided some details that conflict with some of what was reported, and perhaps clarifies some other aspects.
They said they spoke by phone to Wilkinson and an unidentified police officer after the incident. They report that Wilkinson was not actually in the hotel parking lot at all, but at the Texaco gas station across the street, sitting at a picnic table. He says that he witnessed the people who were checking out the cars, and that they left on bikes when police arrived.
They also said that when police approached him to ask him questions, he did have a stick in his hands, but he also stated that he put it down when asked to do so. Then one of the officers told him she was going to handcuff him while they asked questions, and it was then that he ran away, and said they would have to kill him before bringing him back to jail. The police report states that after that he fell down the embankment and was eventually captured with the help of the police dog.
The family member also reported that the officer they spoke to said that Wilkinson did in the end apologize for his behavior, and Wilkinson acknowledged that he was wrong to run from them. It was indeed ironic that his only actual offense in the entire incident was his resisting arrest and being uncooperative, and that the individuals who caused the incident by cruising the cars in the lot at 3:30 in the morning got away on their bikes scott free. While Wilkinson, who is listed as a transient in recent police reports, was likely only trying to sleep the night without any trouble.