Police arrested a 49-year-old Eureka man shortly after midnight this morning after he allegedly told a Weaverville restaurant employee he had plans to commit a mass shooting at a Eureka government building after the employee asked him to wear a mask.
Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said the man, identified as Darin Michael Ward, told the employee he and friends had plans to storm a government building in Eureka this morning and shoot everyone there, after which they would walk down the street and shoot anyone they saw wearing a mask. Watson said yesterday afternoon the restaurant's owner notified the Humboldt County Joint Information Center of the threat, which was then relayed to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and the Eureka Police Department.
Watson said officers worked through the night — with the help of allied agencies and the FBI — to locate Ward and take him into custody. Search warrants served on Ward's vehicle and residence found no weapons, and Watson said there is currently no evidence he had the means or plans in place to carry out the shooting.
Nonetheless, Watson said EPD had officer staged at the government building this morning in an abundance of caution.
"It was deeply concerning given today's climate," Watson said of the threats, adding that he was proud of the officers who worked through the night to locate Ward and assess the threat.
Ward was booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of making criminal threats and is being held on $25,000 bail.
See the full press release from EPD copied below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2021
Subject: Criminal Threats Investigation
On January 19, 2021, the Eureka Police Department was made aware of violent threats made towards a government building and its staff in Eureka. The threats were made earlier in the day by 49-year-old Eureka resident Darin Michael Ward, while he was at a restaurant in Weaverville, CA.
The detailed and violent threats were initially reported to the Humboldt County Joint Information Center and then swiftly disseminated to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eureka Police Department. Through an extensive joint investigation, which also included participation from the FBI and Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Ward was quickly identified and confirmed to be in Eureka.
Just after midnight on January 20th, officers with the Eureka Police Department contacted Ward on Marina Way and he was taken into custody without incident. Ward was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for criminal threats. He is being held on $25,000.00 bail. A search warrant was authored and served on his vehicles and residence. No weapons were located, but electronic device and other items of evidence were seized at the scene.
The Eureka Police Department would like to thank the allied agencies that assisted in this investigation. Without their help, this situation may not have come to such a peaceful resolution.
Media Release Prepared by: PIO Brittany Powell