Office of the District Attorney - Maggie Fleming, District Attorney
February 5, 2016
District Attorney Maggie Fleming has determined that no charges should be filed related to the September 2015 shooting of Richard Kelley in Weitchpec. Her decision was based on the following information:
Law enforcement officers responded on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. to a report of a shooting in the parking lot outside of the Lucky Bear Casino in Hoopa. Citizens reported observing a man who was later identified as Richard Kelley shoot another man and then flee on a red and black motorcycle. Initially the motorcycle was observed going southbound on Highway 96, but later citizens reported seeing the same motorcycle driving around Hoopa and then heading northbound.
The following paragraph presents information provided by the officer involved:
After viewing the motorcycle on the Casino’s surveillance video, Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Sergeant Seth Ruiz drove northbound on Highway 96, checking side roads to locate the motorcycle. Sergeant Ruiz then turned around to check side roads on southbound 96. While on Marshall Lane, the sergeant observed the motorcycle turn onto Marshall Lane from Big Hill Road and pass him. Sergeant Ruiz notified dispatch that he was attempting to catch up to the motorcycle. The sergeant observed the motorcycle travelling at a high speed and saw it go through the stop sign at Marshall Lane and Highway 96. He pulled in behind the motorcycle as it traveled northbound and turned on his emergency lights and siren. Mr. Kelley continued approximately 10 miles on Highway 96 traveling at speeds up to 80 mph and crossing over the double yellow line through turns. After crossing over the bridge at Weitchpec, Mr. Kelley lost control and went down on the north side of the highway. Sergeant Ruiz stopped, quickly exited as he drew his firearm and was ordering Mr. Kelley to show his hands when he saw muzzle flash and attempted to take cover behind the tailgate of his vehicle. He returned fire and heard additional shots from Mr. Kelley. Sergeant Ruiz moved to a position behind the rear passenger wheel well. He continuously ordered Mr. Kelley to show his hands. Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Chief Guyer arrived, followed by deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department. All initially took cover. Ultimately the law enforcement officers present approached Mr. Kelley and removed the firearm. The scene was secured until emergency medical responders arrived at approximately 9:00 p.m. Medical personnel pronounced Mr. Kelley deceased at 9:04 p.m.