MENDOCINO COUNTY – The town of Redwood Valley is a small community of under 2000 people located north of Ukiah in inland Mendocino County off of Highway 101. Beneath the Mendocino Ranges, the mostly flat valley is home to acres of farmland, much of it vineyards growing grapes for local wineries.
Timothy Abshire, 35, lives out in the rural area along Webb Ranch Road. Perhaps under the influence, Abshire was armed and reportedly threatening people with a rifle in the area of Webb Ranch, Colony Drive, and Road D, not far from his home, on Saturday, November 15. People had called the Sheriff’s office, and deputies arrived around 5 pm. Witness reported that Abshire had fired his gun in their direction during the afternoon.
Abshire had been arrested in similar circumstances in January of 2008. A story in the Ukiah Daily Journal reported that he and a 28-year-old woman were at his house when neighbors reported up to 50 shots fired from the home. The responding deputies found the couple, along with empty bullet casings, and up to 40 pounds of processed marijuana. They also found several firearms out in plain sight, and three young children in the house. Abshire and his companion were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession for sale, child endangerment, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Abshire’s record of arrests goes back to at least 1999, when the then 19-year-old was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and marijuana while driving on a suspended licence. Records show several more arrests over the intervening years for being under the influence of a controlled substance, selling marijuana, driving with a license suspended for DUI, and probation violations.
After the reports of this latest incident were collected, according to the Mendocino Sheriff’s office, deputies proceeded to his residence, and were able to call him out briefly, but he went right back inside. Then he ran out the back, carrying a rifle. He fled into the woods of the foothills behind the house, and deputies began their search for him – carefully since he was armed. Officers from the Highway Patrol in the area joined the deputies in the search.
More deputies arrived to join in, including a K9 unit and the Sheriff’s SWAT team. Being Autumn, it soon began to grow dark, and the team got additional help from the neighboring Sonoma County Sheriff’s “Henry 1” helicopter, which lit up the scene with its searchlight.
At 7:14, one of the CHP officers located Abshire, who had his rifle pointed towards the officer. The officer fired, and hit Abshire multiple times. The rest of the team responded to the location immediately and he was given first aid for his wounds. He was taken to the nearest hospital, but later transferred to an out of county facility for further treatment. It was reported that he is expected to survive the injuries.
Internal investigations are being conducted into the circumstances of the shooting by both the CHP and Mendocino Sheriff’s office. Charges against Abshire will likely come after he is released from treatment into the county jail, and the results of the investigations are turned over to the District Attorney’s office.
Ukiah Daily Journal (2008): Gunfire leads to 2 arrests