On 06-28-2014, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a man who was threatening to shoot people and claimed to be armed with explosives. The suspect, later identified as Bruce Richard Cotherman, 57 years old, from McKinleyville was parked in a green 2002 Subaru in front of Whitethorn Construction Company, 545 Shelter Cove Road, Whitethorn. A 57 year old male employee of the business walked out to Cotherman’s car when he saw it was backed up to the loading bay area. When the employee asked if Cotherman needed assistance, Cotherman told the employee if he came any closer he would die. Cotherman motioned towards his right pocket as if he had a gun and told the employee he would be shot if he moved. Cotherman threatened to kill anyone else who came near the employee or Cotherman’s vehicle. Everytime the employee attempted to move , Cotherman got angry and asked the employee if he ever wanted to see his family again. Cotherman yelled to the employee that he had enough C-4 explosives in his vehicle to kill the employee and everyone else in the business and six acres surrounding it. He then told the employee he was going to commit suicide and wanted everyone else to watch. Cotherman then threw his car keys away.
After several minutes of being held hostage, the employee saw Cotherman divert his attention downwards and away from the employee. The employee made a decision to run, leaving Cotherman by himself at the Subaru. A Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived shortly after the employee escaped. When Cotherman saw the uniformed deputy, he submitted to the deputies commands and was taken into custody.
The deputy was able to determine the boxes and items that Cotherman claimed were explosives in his vehicle were liquid plant fertilizer. The deputy was also did not find any weapons on Cotherman or in his vehicle.
Cotherman later told the deputy he intended to commit suicide by law enforcement, but changed his mind when the deputy arrived.
No one was injured during the incident.
Cotherman was taken to mental health for an evaluation and was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on 6-30-2014. He was booked on charges of false imprisonment and terrorist threats. His bail was set at $50,000.00.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.