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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: September 16, 2021

Mad River Road Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Update #2

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On Thursday, September 9, 2021, a California Highway Patrol Officer was involved in an officer involved shooting in the area of the 1000 block of Mad River Road, in the unincorporated area of Arcata. The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is investigating this incident.

This incident update (#2) is to provide a more in-depth release of information. In alignment with Humboldt County CIRT’s transparency protocol, this update provides the name of the California Highway Patrol officer involved, the name of the decedent and additional incident details.

California Highway Patrol Officer: Michael Griffin, 8 years of service with the California Highway Patrol

Decedent: Charles David Chivrell, 35-year-old Eureka resident

At approximately 10:47 a.m., multiple officers with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Arcata Police Department responded to the area of Heindon Road and Miller Road for the report of a man walking in the roadway with a firearm. The CHP received the initial call and requested assistance from the Arcata Police Department.      

California Highway Patrol Officer Michael Griffin, accompanied by an officer in training, attempted to contact Mr. Chivrell in the roadway. During this time, Mr. Chivrell was observed to be in possession of a handgun holstered on his person. 

Officers requested that Mr. Chivrell yield for a pedestrian stop. Mr. Chivrell disregarded this request, continuing to walk northbound on Mad River Road. By failing to stop, Mr. Chivrell violated a misdemeanor obstruction, delaying a police officer.  

Officer Griffin and other officers from the CHP and Arcata Police Department followed Mr. Chivrell down the road for approximately one mile, attempting verbal de-escalation to gain compliance. Mr. Chivrell stopped a few times and spoke to the officers during this process. However, he refused the commands of the peace officers and he continued to walk on Mad River Road away from the officers. During the times when Mr. Chivrell was speaking with the officers, he made threats toward peace officers and members of the public. 

In the 1000 block of Mad River Road, an Arcata Police Department officer deployed a less-lethal pepper ball gun to gain compliance from Mr. Chivrell. Following the deployment of the pepper ball gun, Mr. Chivrell withdrew his firearm and raised the firearm in the direction of the peace officers. Officer Griffin fired one shot with his CHP department-issued patrol rifle. Mr. Chivrell was struck once. Officers on scene provided first aid to Mr. Chivrell and called in Emergency Medical Services. Mr. Chivrell was transported to an area hospital where he was declared deceased.   

This case is under investigation by Humboldt County CIRT investigators. All findings will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Video footage exists from multiple body-worn cameras and dash cameras that captured the incident from various perspectives. All of the video footage will be released by the California Highway Patrol as soon as it can be done without compromising the integrity of the investigation, in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the California Government Code and recently revised per AB 748.  

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

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