On April 18, 2023, at about 2:49 p.m. officers with the Eureka Police Department (EPD) responded to a report of an armed robbery in the area of the north parking lot at the Bayshore Mall. There, officers located a 33-year-old male victim who told officers that he had been robbed at gunpoint and assaulted. The victim sustained minor head injuries from the physical assault. The victim was able to provide a description of the suspects and suspect vehicle to law enforcement. EPD issued a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) to all local agencies describing a red ford pick-up and indicating that a firearm had been used in the robbery.
Approximately 10 minutes later, EPD received a report of a pedestrian hit and run in the area of West Washington and Summer Streets. The victim, a 34-year-old male, sustained major injuries. The suspects of the hit and run were later confirmed to be the same suspects involved in the earlier armed robbery.
At about 3:14 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy in a marked Sheriff’s Office pick-up truck observed the suspect vehicle, a red 2004 Ford F250, in the Cutten area near the intersection of Redwood Street and Walnut Drive. The deputy attempted a felony traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle failed to yield, and a pursuit ensued.
Approximately two minutes later, the fleeing suspect vehicle was involved in a traffic collision with a civilian vehicle at the intersection of Dolbeer and Harris Streets. Following this collision, the suspects in the Ford are believed to have fired at the marked Sheriff’s vehicle, striking it at least once. At about this time, an unmarked Sheriff’s Office pick-up truck occupied by an HCSO Sergeant and one deputy arrived. Both of these officers fired their service weapons at the suspects. An additional HCSO marked vehicle arrived and pulled alongside the HCSO marked truck. This deputy also fired his service weapon at the suspects. Both suspects sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The suspects were taken into custody on scene and deputies rendered first aid while waiting for Emergency Medical Services. No deputies were injured.
During this incident, there were two additional individuals inside the suspect vehicle, a 37-year-old female and a 2-year-old male. Both sustained minor collision-related injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The civilian vehicle involved in the traffic collision contained three occupants. The driver, a 42-year-old male, sustained moderate collision-related injuries. The passenger, a 27-year-old female, sustained major collision-related injuries. A 2-year-old passenger of the vehicle was not injured. The three were transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and treatment.
The suspects have been identified as brothers, 18-year-old Jesse Widmark and 27-year-old Brandon Widmark. Both suspects were transported to a local hospital and remain in critical condition. The Widmarks were last known to be residing in Northern Mendocino County but have family ties to Humboldt County. At the time of this incident, the brothers were wanted by the Arcata Police Department in connection to a robbery occurring April 14 in the Valley West area.
While processing the scene, investigators located three weapons associated with the suspects: one Winchester Model 70 Bolt Action 270 Rifle, one Marlin Model 60 .22 Caliber Long Rifle and one Sigsauer M17 Airsoft Handgun.
A total of four HCSO deputies were involved in this incident, three are believed to have fired their service weapons: a Sergeant, with 14 years of service, and two deputies with six and 10 years of service, respectively. The fourth involved deputy, who was fired upon during this incident, has five years of service with the HCSO. All involved deputies have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal administrative investigation. Involved deputies will be identified within the timeframe as required by law in a future information update.
This is still an active, multi-faceted investigation, being led by the Eureka Police Department and Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office as part of the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team. Additional information will be released when available and appropriate.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance with this investigation: Eureka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Arcata Police Department, Fortuna Police Department, Rio Dell Police Department and the CA Department of Justice.
Anyone with information about this case or additional criminal activity associated with the suspects should contact Eureka Police Department Detective Raymond Nunez at (707) 441-4109.
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