Defendant to Face Trial for Shooting Intruder

John Chiv covers the local legal system for his blog. He shares his observations on some high profile trials with us in our Humboldt Justice guest column.

Both defense and prosecution agree Brian Swan shot a man, Robert Babb, on April 8 but they disagree on whether Swan should be in jail for the shooting. Swan was initially arrested for Attempted Homicide but later, the charges, according to, Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees, were changed to Assault with a Firearm with one special allegation that he personally used the firearm and one that he personally inflicted great bodily injury.

Today there a preliminary hearing where a judge determined there was enough evidence to take the case to trial and John Chiv was there. Below is his report on what reportedly happened the night of the shooting.


John Chiv

Humboldt County Sheriff Investigator Greg Musson was the only witness to testify at the preliminary hearing for Brian Swan this morning.

On April 8, 2016, Mr. Musson said he received a call at home. “12 minutes after midnight. I was informed there had been a shooting incident,” he explained to the court. He called HCSO Detective Todd Fulton to respond at the alleged crime scene, as a second investigator.

The property where the alleged shooting occurred is on Aspen Way, at the top of Humbodlt Hill, near the Tip Top Club. When Investigator Musson got to that location, there were other officers present who had initially responded to the call and there were also civilian witnesses.


Brian Swan, defendant

Investigator Musson was first directed to a female witness, Kirsten Kierney, who he learned later was the mother of 4-year-old girl at the house. The child’s father is the defendant. He was also directed to another female witness, Charlene Hughes, who was the great grandmother and was holding the child. The name of the child is not being used in this post due to her age.

After being briefed by Sgt. Sam Williams and Deputy Hill, Investigator Musson took a full statement from Hughes. She said she was asleep and “at approximately 11:30 awoke to a large sound. She thought it was the dogs making a ruckus.”

Hughes told Investigator Musson that she heard Swan come down with the child and with a long gun. He told her to call 911 “because he had shot Bob.” She called 911.

Investigator Musson then spoke with Kierney, who was somewhat the girlfriend of Swan and also of Robert Babb.

Kierney was not home at the time of the alleged shooting. Musson said that after the shooting she saw law enforcement lights on top of the hill and went up to the house. She had been with the alleged victim, Babb earlier that evening.

Kierney told Investigator Musson she was not sure what had happened at the time of the shooting; instead she told him about what happened earlier that evening.

Investigator Musson interviewed Robert Babb aka Robert Waters on April 14 at the ICU Unit at St. Joseph’s hospital. According to Musson, Mr. Babb said he and Ms. Kierney were in his vehicle in Eureka and they had gotten into an argument. They fought about whether she wanted to be with Swan or Babb. She denied being with Swan. Babb told Musson that he did not believe Kierney. Babb told Musson that Kierney had told him to go up to the house and talk to Swan.

Babb told Musson that when he got to the house, the front door was unlocked. He did not knock and walked into the house. He stepped over a baby gate onto a landing.He saw Swan dozing off on a couch. He told Musson that he had told Swan that they needed to talk about the relationship. Babb said that Swan had responded he did not want to talk and Swan told him to get out of the house. Babb kept saying he wanted to talk. Then, according to Babb, Swan went into another room and came back with a shotgun. Swan told him again, to get out.

Investigator Musson said that Babb told him, ‘It was my fault; I told him to shoot me and he did.”

Deputy Hill told Investigator Musson that when he arrived at the scene of the shooting he saw “a baseball sized hole and liver hanging out” of the victim. Investigator Musson said, “There was a lot of blood on the scene where the shooting took place.” He said he was “surprised the victim survived.”

A Charles Daly brand 12 gauge pump action shotgun was recovered from the alleged crime scene.

On April 9, Investigator Musson interviewed the defendant. According to Musson, Mr. Swan told him that he and his 4-year-old daughter were in the living room. She wanted to play on the laptop. Around 11:30 p.m. both began to doze off.

The child, Swan told Musson, heard something, woke up and said, “Hello.” Usually, she would say hello and the name of a person. That made Mr. Swan think it was a stranger. Musson said that Swan told him that he saw Babb standing by the baby gate. He retrieved a knife near the couch and told Babb, ‘Get the hell out of here.’ Babb, Swan told Musson, said, ‘We need to talk.’ Mr. Swan said that he responded, ‘At this time of the  night, we have nothing to talk about.’ Babb said something to the effect of ‘What are you going to do? Stab me?’ According to Musson, Mr. Swan felt Babb was not taking him seriously so he retrieved the gun from a cabinet and told Babb to leave. Mr. Swan said Babb told him, ‘You know I am crazy; you pointing a gun at me? I’m going to do something.’ That’s when Mr. Swan shot Babb; he was standing about five feet away and he shot him in the chest.”

Babb fell down, Swan said he took his daughter down and told her grandmother Charlene Hughes to call the cops. Swan said he told Hughes, “I shot Bob; he’s an intruder.”

Investigator Musson said that Swan told him that Babb “was not taking him seriously. He felt belittled, at least three or four times.”  After the last time, he asked Babb to leave. Swan told Investigator Musson, he was “a little scared.”

Swan did not tell Investigator Musson that Babb had a weapon. He told Investigator Musson that two weeks prior to this incident, a car had been vandalized and he believed Babb did it. Swan said he told Babb, “Unless you have money, we have nothing to talk about.”

Investigator Musson did not get medical records but based on his conversation with Babb and his mother, it was Investigator Musson’s understanding that “part of the kidney and liver were removed subsequent to the surgery.” Brian Swan was held over at the jail to answer to charges of Assault with a Firearm with the additional  special allegation that he personally used the firearm and the allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury.

Earlier Chapter: Critically Wounded Victim Sent to Hospital With Gunshot Wound, Eureka Man Arrested



  • Hmmm, another black guy named Brian, I hadn’t noticed it was such a popular name like that.
    Just stating the obvious and nothing else

    “Suspect #1: is described as a black male adult, between 30-35 years of age, 6’ tall, with short black hair, and brown eyes, and goes by the name “Brian.”

    • I don’t want to convict someone without a trial, but that’s exactly what I thought. Hopefully EPD is thinking the same way to check it out.

    • Except for this Brian has been in jail since the shooting and could not have been in Benbow at the time.

      • I know he is in custody, my thought is; this victim pays attention to our local news and put the two together in her story, I believe her story to be made up.

    • Yes, Brian is a popular name in America. America is the country we live in. The sky is blue.

      If you paid attention to the obvious, you would know he was in jail when the Benbow incident happened.

      • If you paid attention you would realize the chick knew about this Brian as well… Where do you think she came up with the story?

  • The Tip Top Club

    Please remove the name of our business from this article we do not need or have any name association with this event.
    Thank You

    • You’re a major landmark like the Carson Mansion. This was an acknowledgement of that not an attempt to tie your business to a shooting in a residence…

    • Really, I worked there 6 months. Y’all had black mold completely eating through the walls for years before you finally remodeled. One owners a childish Biotch with no management skills and the others a drunk cheater cheating on her husband at the club. The tip top’s only reputation has been earned by being its crappy self.

    • Yes. This is the Mr. Chiv report. Sleaze & innuendo at every turn. Smearing anything with which he has a personal issue

    • Your business is disgusting and degrading to women. (Personal opinion.) Wish your business would close down and leave.

  • I believe that the Tip Top Club wants the free publicity or why would they put up their logo and expose themselves even more ?

  • Jeeze, get over it.. we’d all kinda like to forget that your tiptop clubs is even in Humboldt.

  • As for the story, It seriously sounds like extreme excessive force. But that really will depend on the full conversation between the men. From what I’m reading Mr. Swan is going to have a great deal of difficult justify shooting him. I hear that tiptop place at one time was a really nice restaurant. It’s not like everyone can see the place from the 101, It’s like they subject us to it every time we drive south of Eureka.

  • So tip top club,why put your logo in your comment?like you don’t have ads all over my cell,flashing at off

  • The intruder refused to leave & challenged the homeowner/renter to shoot. He admitted this. Why do taxpayers have to pay to hear more?

  • I despise Mr. Chiv. He is the sleaziest “journalist” at work in our county.

  • Free Swan!

  • Back away from loaded guns

    If I am in my home and telling a man to leave multiple times while I am pointing a shotgun at him at 12 at night after he came into my house uninvited and he is refusing to leave telling me from his mouth “you know I am CRAZY” and he then gets within 6 feet of me what are my choices….? Shot or get shot or beaten to death. I don’t see what the issue is? Mr babb had multiple chances to leave and was most likely talking in a threatening manner and mr swan was obviously scarred enough to shot. He has his 4 year old daughter in the house and this guy comes through the door at midnight. Not 12 in the afternoon but 12 am when most people are asleep. What 2 men talk about a women they are with calmly at midnight especially when one the men just had an argument with said women earlier that night about who she is with? Sounds like babb was a jealous man and didn’t want to leave well enough alone. If mr swan was a women would this be treated differently? Would it be self defense if a women told babb to leave multiple times but because swan is a man they are suppose to fight it out with fists with the 4 year old daughter in the house while swan is half asleep? Babb had multiple opportunities to leave with a shotgun pointed at him and decided to get within 6 feet of the gun?!?! Anyone with half a brain would at least back away from the shotgun as far as possible and try to diffuse the situation. I know I would leave. I’m feeling like mr babb is leaving out the part where he was acting in a threatening manner in the middle of the night in someone else’s home and got shot by someone who was afraid enough to use deadly force. Obviously mr swan didn’t shot right away and told the trespasser to leave at which point mr babb proceeded to Get Himself Shot. Seems like swan was scared and deadly force was justified.

    • Also Babb requested Mr. Swan shoot him, so that sounds like consent.

    • My thoughts exactly

    • The HOME is not Swan’s home! What was he doing there at that time? His child should have been in bed at 11:30pm!!!!!!
      What was the reason for the “girlfriend” to send Babb into the house? Was this attempted murder planned?????
      After Swan shot Babb, he waited almost an HOUR before calling the cops!!!!!!! Babb begged Swan to call for help, Swan refused!!!!!!!
      Swan was waiting for Babb to bleed out!!!!
      Wake up peoole, get your heads out of your a##’s.
      How would you feel if Babb was a relative or friend of yours????
      Attempted murder is a felony, prison time. And hopefully Swan gets just that.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bob babb the intruder

      I am the intruder and all the crap you folks have read is lies I have not made any statement except when the police came to my room at hospital where I had just been awoken from a coma two hours earlier and when I realized who they were I told the,m to leave I was way to sedated to answer questions so all you who think you know as far as Brian and jail he was released the following day on bail and is out right now I never said I was crazy? I never threatened him ? It’s all bullshit all I wanted to know was if he did not love Kirsten then please quit using her when you get the urge and then ditch her the following day just let me try to love her the way she deserves to be he wanted money to replace car windows that I had no idea about hell I got an email that says he brought a gun to that house that he does not live at another lie but he told the ladies that live there he was gonna kill me two weeks earlier he was waiting for me to show up looking for his ex and my girlfriend to shoot me ? So now you got some truth to spin into whatever you want to believe

  • What they dont tell is you is babb is a 50 year old tweaker with warrants for his arrest out of state, hospitalized his 20 + year old girlfriend in the prior weeks, made multiple threats to the family and young daughter. This man is garbage the state is wasting their money and time pursing this case.

    • Bob babb the intruder

      Another pak of lies never hospitalized my girl she called me after a fight with her girlfriend from hospital and came and stayed with me that night as far as warrants out of state pretty sure I wouldn’t be here in eureka posting this since the cops would’ve took me from hospital where do you people come up with this crap

  • Mr. Babb died as a result of this tragedy . Why hasn’t anyone thought that this girl my somehow be at fault of the love triangle . She obviously played both of their hearts to the point of death. Jealousy is a hard evil to fight. Maybe either men were in their right minds because of her games. Every think of that ???????? R.I.P. Bob Babb

    • As far as I know, Mr. Babb is healing up right now.

      • I was told by my mother and brother that he had passed away. I know our family was close to him especially my brothers. I will talk to them just to be sure .

    • Back away from loaded guns

      My babb is alive and well otherwise this article would state that mr swan is facing murder or homocide charges. Get your facts straight.

    • Jealousy is no excuse to hit a women

      I see so jealousy makes it ok to break a women’s eardrum out and threaten to take her to Devils playground and let your friends do rapey things to her. Then call and say you are going to burn the house down with everybody in it?!?!
      And then break into a house at midnight with 4 year old girl in it to pick a fight with her dad and then get shot with a shotgun by someone living there. Yeah your right jealousy makes all of that ok. Read chivs blog. It has some interesting details about the lead up to all of this and mr babb ( a women beater) sounds like he is lucky to be alive and mr swan should be out taking care of his daughter he was trying to protect. What a waste of resources.

    • Bob babb the intruder

      Not dead still with the girl how do I know I’m bob babb

  • Aspen Way is not on Humboldt hill and the Tip Top Club is not on Humboldt Hill.

    • The Incident occurred in the 6000 block of Aspen Way, Tip Top Club is in the 6000 block of Loma Way, Google a map to see the proximity. Also Google lists that portion of Aspen Way as Humboldt Hill.

      You can take up the geography with either HCSO or Google. Tip Top Club is not the key part of this article. It is a landmark that was briefly mentioned regarding the location of the incident.

      Maybe you personally visit the Tip Top Club, I don’t, so I got to go with Google.

  • Michael R. Ross

    So what is the problem here? Riff-raff like this killing each other is analogous to a self-cleaning oven. A good eugenics program would go a long way toward eliminating defectives of this kind.

    Anyone on welfare who has more than one child should be sterilized as well as anyone convicted of any serious violent crime.

  • Bob babb the intruder

    Look all you folks seem to think you know is not even close the crap the papers printed a mother load of crap I guess if people believe your dead they can print anything all the murderer crap and I said I was crazy and gonna do something all lies and I’m totally wanting to take a lie detector test along with Brian cause I know what he said after he shot me and he had a blanket over his shoulders I never saw a gun I’m not stupid if I had saw a gun I would have got the hell outta there yes I am the bad guy who walked into my girlfriends to say I loved her and if he did not and did not want to be with her I wanted her and I loved her so please quit messing with her head coming over saying you want to be a family getting laid then ditching her the next day
    That’s why I was there not mad at Brian seen him there and we shook hands right where he sot me I had been staying the night there off and on and had talked to her grandma who said I was allowed to go there so funny how stories changed while I was fighting for my life I never read anything as ridiculous as the statements these folks made about me what a load of bs

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