DA Clears Arcata Officer in Shooting


The scene immediately following the May 17 shooting. - FILE
  • File
  • The scene immediately following the May 17 shooting.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has determined that an Arcata police officer acted in self-defense when he opened fire and wounded 26-year-old Joshua Hoffman at a gas station in May.

After reviewing witness statements and multiple videos capturing the shooting, District Attorney Maggie Fleming determined that Hoffman was charging officer Don Arminio with a stick raised over his head when Arminio fired in self-defense, shooting Hoffman in the right bicep, upper right leg and lower abdomen. Hoffman received immediate medical treatment and is currently jailed in Washington on unrelated charges.

Fleming’s office has charged Hoffman with resisting an officer by threats or violence with use of a dangerous weapon and will have him extradited to Humboldt County at the conclusion of his Washington case.

For a detailed report on the shooting, see past Journal coverage here and here. And see the full press release from the DA’s Office copied below.


OCTOBER 28, 2016

The District Attorney has completed her review of the officer-involved shooting on May 17, 2016 adjacent to the Shell gas station at 14th and G streets in Arcata. Available information included video of the incident provided by the gas station, video from police vehicles at the scene and investigative reports from the multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team (who respond to investigate an officer-involved shooting) that included statements from officers and six civilian witnesses.
Officers responded to a call to the gas station where 26-year-old Joshua Hoffman was drinking alcohol and swinging two large sticks (one wooden and one metal). Arcata Police Department officers D. Arminio and M. O’Donovan arrived separately; both parked, exited their cars, and tried to speak with Mr. Hoffman. The officers told him to put the sticks down and he yelled, “No.” The officers continued trying to speak with Mr. Hoffman in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, using their patrol cars as barriers in an attempt to maintain a safe distance. Gas station video shows Mr. Hoffman approaching the officers while swinging the sticks and then backing up, followed by Mr. Hoffman charging toward Officer Arminio with one stick raised over his head. Officer O’Donovan fired his taser at Mr. Hoffman but it had no effect. Although Officer Arminio backed away from Mr. Hoffman, he continued moving towards the officer with the stick in a threatening position and the officer fired his pistol. Mr. Hoffman was shot in the right bicep, upper right leg and lower abdomen. He received immediate medical treatment and was transported to the hospital. Statements from independent witnesses correspond with the video evidence of the encounter between Mr. Hoffman and APD officers.
The District Attorney has concluded Officer Arminio fired his weapon in lawful self-defense. Also, Mr. Hoffman has been charged with resisting an officer by threats or violence with use of a dangerous weapon (Penal Code section 69). Mr. Hoffman’s family has been contacted and advised of these decisions.
Mr. Hoffman is currently being held in Washington State on unrelated charges. When those charges have been addressed he will be extradited to Humboldt County.

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