Office of the District Attorney - Maggie Fleming, District Attorney
January 16, 2018
Today, Judge Feeney sentenced 25-year-old Shawn Hof Jr. of Carlotta, to 20 years in prison for assault with a firearm upon a peace officer (Penal Code section 245(d)(1)) with an enhancement of personally using a firearm (Penal Code section 12022.53(b)), being a felon in possession of a firearm (Penal Code section 29800(a)(1)), using threats and violence upon an executive officer (Penal Code section 69), and negligently discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle (Penal Code section 246.3(a)). Mr. Hof was also convicted of a misdemeanor violation of “spotlighting,” using artificial light to hunt wildlife (Fish and Game Code section 2005(a)). By law, Mr. Hof must serve a minimum of 85% of his 20-year term because of the serious nature of the offenses.
On August 21, 2016 at about 12:40 am, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Matthew Wells attempted to stop two individuals in a truck who were spotlighting along Redwood House Road off Highway 36 near Carlotta. Mr. Hof fired a .45-caliber pistol approximately six times in the direction of Officer Wells, who was in his patrol truck. A vehicle pursuit ensued, during which Mr. Hof jumped into the passenger seat of the truck, reloaded his pistol, and fired approximately four more times in the direction of Officer Wells. None of the shots hit the officer or his patrol vehicle. The 8-mile pursuit ended when the driver, 19-year-old Thomas Wheeler of Fortuna, lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Mr. Hof and Mr. Wheeler fled the scene, but law enforcement investigators identified the two suspects shortly after. Mr. Hof surrendered to law enforcement officers in August 2017.
The accomplice, Mr. Wheeler, was sentenced last month to a suspended sentence of eight years in state prison for aiding and abetting the assault on a peace officer using a firearm (Penal Code section 245(d)(1)), evading a peace officer with wanton and reckless disregard for person and property (Vehicle code section 2800.2(a)), two misdemeanor violations for allowing another person to shoot from a vehicle, and spotlighting.
Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, who prosecuted the case, stated that, “Officer Wells showed incredible resolve in pursuing the two defendants despite taking fire while alone in a remote area of our County in the middle of the night. I appreciate his dedication to protecting our natural resources and commitment to protecting the public.”
On January 9, 2018 Superior Court Judge Feeney sentenced 17-year-old Matthew Snider to 7 years in a Juvenile Justice facility for the crime of residential burglary (Penal Code sections 459 – 460(a)) while in possession of a firearm (Penal Code section 12022(a)(1)). Judge Feeney determined Snider’s sentence because Judge Hinrichs concluded that Snider should be tried as an adult following a hearing in June 2017.
The conviction stems from Snider’s actions in November 2016. On November 20, Eureka Police Officer Bise responded to a burglary call in the 1500 block of L Street in Eureka and found the residence ransacked. Security footage showed four subjects approaching the residence. Subsequent investigation revealed one subject entered the residence through a bathroom skylight. Multiple personal items were stolen during the burglary, including jewelry.
On November 26, Eureka Police Officer Southwell responded to a burglary alarm at the same address. Officer Southwell received back-up from additional officers from the Eureka Police Department and a K9 (police dog) Unit from the Fortuna Police Department. The K9 found Snider hiding in a dryer. Snider was wearing jewelry stolen from the residence on November 20. Officers observed a pile of personal belongings stacked by the front door of the residence; the security alarm had been ripped off the wall and disconnected. Access to the residence had been gained by breaking a sliding glass door. Later inspection of surveillance footage revealed Snider exiting the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked in the driveway, then walking to the back of the residence holding a firearm at his side. The homeowner later located the loaded firearm that Snider brought into the residence under some clothes in a laundry basket.