Joshua Wade Bennett has what may be called a “special relationship” with the law. He was arrested earlier this year by Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies after he was seen tailgating a car in southern Fort Bragg. When a patrol deputy noticed and began to follow him, Bennett turned it into a car chase as he tried to evade them driving up to 75 mph along Fort Bragg-Willits Road, and finally lost control near the Noyo Mooring Basin. It was around 11 pm, and he made a run for it, leaving his female passenger behind. After about 40 yards, he tried to hide, but the deputies caught him, and he was arrested for reckless evasion, driving on a suspended license, and possession of methamphetamine for sale. He also had some outstanding warrants.
His prior history, from arrest records going back ten years, shows an arrest in 2008 for assault with a deadly weapon likely to cause great bodily injury, firing a weapon at an inhabited dwelling, child endangerment, and stalking. No further details of that incident were available, but five years later to the day, on January 28, 2013, Bennett was charged with domestic battery, false imprisonment, and possession of drug paraphernalia. In September of that year he was again charged with domestic battery and a probation violation.
Most recently, an arrest warrant had been issued for him for violating the terms of his most recent probation. He was not at his home, on Mitchell Creek Road, inland in south Fort Bragg. But, according to a Mendocino Sheriff’s press release, he was reported to be at a house about a mile away, on Boice Street near the Shoreline Highway. They appeared at the home at 9:43 pm on Friday, July 3 to serve the warrant and take Bennett into custody.
Bennett, however, did not respond and give himself up, in fact he did not appear to be there at all. But the deputies conducted a search, and finally located him hiding in a crawlspace above the garage. He was told that he was under arrest, and that he should carefully climb down and go quietly.
Bennett would have none of that. He would not come down, and said he was “armed and dangerous” and that if they wanted to take him, they’d have to crawl up there themselves and just try. He told them he had an MK-79 pyrotechnic launcher, and that he’d fire the thing and burn the house down.
An MK-79 is a gun-like device that fires distress signals, and is commonly carried by aircraft personnel to signal their location if their plane goes down. Small and lightweight, it fits inside a flight suit or an emergency life raft. It fires a red flare that can travel up to 600 feet in the air.
Out of concern that he might be telling the truth about his threats, additional medical and fire teams were called to the scene, as the deputies tried to talk him down. After about 40 minutes, reason, or perhaps just fatigue, got the best of him, and Bennett gave up and climbed down. He had no such flare gun with him, and none was located in his hiding space.
He was arrested on charges of resisting arrest with threats of violence, along with the original felony warrant. He was not offered bail, and remains in custody at the Mendocino County Jail.
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