THIRD UPDATE: Police Shooting Victim Named


  • Thadeus Greenson
UPDATED: Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills said this afternoon that a gun was recovered from the scene of an officer involved shooting that occurred on Allard Avenue early Wednesday morning, and pledged that the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting will be thorough and objective.

“Yes, there was a gun recovered,” Mills said, adding that doesn’t want to “characterize the nature” of the gun found until it can be tested by a forensic laboratory.

Mills said four officers were on scene at the time of the shooting, which occurred at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. According to scanner traffic and an EPD press release, officers had 22-year-old Thomas McClain at gunpoint when he reportedly “grabbed for” his gun, according to an EPD press release. An officer then shot McClain, who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

In addition to testing the gun McClain allegedly possessed at the scene, Mills said he’s collected all the involved officers’ service weapons to have them forensically tested in an effort to verify officers’ statements of what transpired. “I want a thorough, complete, forensic examination of this incident,” Mills said.

The police chief said Wednesday’s shooting is a tragedy for the community, McCLain’s family and the officers involved. “We recognize that this is a tragic event all the way around,” he said.

A Facebook page titled "Justice for Tommy McClain" has been set up, and includes mention of a candlelight vigil in his memory scheduled for tomorrow.

PREVIOUSLY: The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office named the victim of the police shooting in Eureka early Wednesday morning. Thomas James McClain, 22, of Eureka, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Hospital after being shot by a Eureka Police Department officer shortly after midnight. An autopsy is scheduled for Sept. 27. See previous coverage below.

From the coroner’s office:

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the deceased involved in the shooting at the 1600 block of Allard Street on September 17, 2014 as Thomas James McClain, age 22 years old and a resident of Eureka.

An autopsy has been scheduled for September 27, 2014 at the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office. Although an autopsy would normally be conducted sooner, the Forensic Pathologist will not be available until the above date.

PREVIOUSLY: Criminologists from the California Department of Justice remain on Allard Street this morning, processing the scene of an officer involved shooting that left a man dead shortly after midnight.

Officers have most of the 1600 block of Allard Avenue, adjacent to Ocean View Cemetery in Eureka, taped off, with about a dozen evidence markers scattered in the street and. A Eureka Police Department patrol car sat in the middle of the taped-off area, about 20 feet from a pile of clothing and a blood stain in the front lawn of a green house in the middle of the block.

According to an EPD press release, officers were in the area searching for two subjects wanted on felony warrants. An officer observed two men, one of whom appeared to have a handgun, arguing in the 1600 block of Allard Avenue. He called for backup, and the officers “confronted the man with the gun,” according to the release.

Scanner traffic, obtained and distilled by the Lost Coast Outpost, captures an officer telling dispatch, “We’ve got one at gunpoint.” About a minute later, another officer radios to dispatch: “Shots fired. One down. All officers are Code 4.”

According to the EPD press release, the man had reached for his gun, causing an officer — an unidentified 13-year law enforcement veteran — to shoot him. The wounded man was transported to St. Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Scanner traffic indicates there was a commotion after the shooting, with one officer telling dispatch that “uncooperatives” were coming out of the house and another later reporting that officers were “slowly gaining control of the scene.”

The identities of both the deceased man and the officer who shot him are being withheld by authorities at this time. The incident is being investigated by the county’s Critical Incident Response Team, which consists of officers from multiple local agencies, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office.

PREVIOUSLY: A multi-agency investigation is underway after a Eureka police officer shot and killed a reportedly armed suspect last night.

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills issued a press release this morning reporting that officers were searching for a pair of people wanted on felony warrants about 11 p.m. last night before an officer saw two men arguing in the 1600 block of Allard Street. One of the men appeared to have a gun, according to the release, and the officer called for backup. Officers confronted the suspect, who then grabbed for the gun, according to the release. One of hte officers fired his weapon, hitting the suspect, who was transported to St. Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The suspect's name is being withheld pending notification of his family. The name of the officer – a 13-year veteran of law enforcement — will be released at a later time, according to Mills.

The county's Critical Incident Response Team — made up of officers from a variety of local agencies, as well as the district attorney and the state attorney general's offices — is investigating the shooting. This is the first officer-involved shooting in Eureka since March of 2010, when an officer shot and killed 25-year-old David Sequoia during a struggle over a gun. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call EPD investigators at 441-4060. See the full press release below:

September 17, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Members of the multi-agency officer involved shooting investigative team are investigating an officer involved shooting in Eureka.

On September 16, 2014 at about 11:00 p.m., officers from the Eureka Police Department were in the area of 1600 Allard Street looking for two subjects wanted on felony warrants. A short time later an officer observed two men arguing on 1600 Allard Street. During the argument one of the men appeared have a handgun. Fearing the argument was escalating he summoned additional officers who then confronted the man with the gun.
As officers gave commands to the man with the gun which was now visible, the subject grabbed for the gun. A Eureka Police officer fired his weapon striking the subject. The wounded man was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital by paramedics where he was pronounced dead. His name is being withheld pending notification of family members.

The officer’s name will be release at a later time. He has been a police officer for 13 years. Anyone with information about this shooting should call EPD investigators at (707) 441-4060.

  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Thadeus Greenson

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