Victim of Sunday’s Shooting Trying to Stop Kidnapping; Shooter Had Extensive Criminal Record

Mark McKenna Shooting off H Street

Police at the scene of Sunday’s shooting. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Reprinted with permission from two articles in the North Coast Journal:

A Fortuna woman who was killed Sunday was shot while trying to stop Ronald Allen Crossland, a convicted felon with a long criminal history that included domestic violence, from kidnapping another woman, police said [yesterday].

According to a brief follow-up statement from the Eureka Police Department, Sharral “Sherry” McDonald had “no prior association” with Crossland and met him through the second woman, who was unharmed. She has not been named and EPD public information officer Brittany Powell has not responded to requests to clarify her relationship to Crossland…

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for McDonald’s memorial service and to help her family. The 60-year-old Fortuna High School graduate leaves behind a husband, children and grandchildren, according to the account, which can be found here.

“Sherry worked constantly and was always there to help someone in need,” the posting reads. “Sherry was the type of person who always did whatever she could to help someone and was a kind, giving soul. Help us honor her memory by coming together for her family to raise money for funeral expenses and other financial hardships that her family should not have to endure in the wake of their tragic loss.”…

The man suspected of fatally shooting a woman in Eureka on May 6 before turning the gun on himself hours later in a Fortuna trailer park had an extensive criminal record that included several stints in prison, according to state corrections officials and local law enforcement.

Ronald Allen Crossland, 52, is believed to have shot Fortuna resident Sharral Lynne McDonald, 60, just before 5 p.m. while she was at another woman’s home on the 3300 block of H Street.

EPD public information officer Brittany Powell wrote in an email to the Journal that McDonald “appears” to have known Crossland through the second woman, who was also in the house but unharmed, and the possibility of the shooting being an act of domestic violence is “under investigation.”

Crossland was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound about four hours later as Fortuna police officers closed in on his location after receiving information that he was seen at Fortuna Trailer Village.

Fortuna Police Chief William Dobberstein said Crossland was believed to be acquainted with people who lived at the park and an officer “was just one trailer away when the gunshot was heard.”

While the department does not have a Fortuna address on record for Crossland, Dobberstein said he had been contacted by officers 36 times since January of 2013 and was arrested in the city 14 times in the same time span.

Crossing was picked up on a variety of charges, including shoplifting, drunk in public, vandalism, disturbing the peace for breaking windows and violation of a domestic violence restraining order, according to the police chief.

“He’s got a long history and he’s got a lot of arrests,” Dobberstein said, adding that on his last FPD contact Crossland was listed as “transient.”

While Crossland fled the Eureka shooting scene in the second woman’s car, which was later found abandoned near Redwood Fields in Cutten, how he was able to travel the 21 miles to Fortuna “is still under investigation,” Powell wrote in an email to the Journal on Monday.

Powell declined to release any information on Crossland’s previous contacts with EPD, which include being detained at gunpoint in August of 2014 while allegedly driving a stolen car, according to news reports.

At the time, Crossland was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of stolen property, DUI, driving on a suspended license and probation violation.

Powell did not immediately respond to a follow up email Tuesday seeking information on Crossland’s relationship to the second woman and any updates on the investigation. Previous addresses and Crossland’s Facebook page place him as an Arcata resident.

Vicky Waters, press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, stated in an email that Crossland “had several prison terms.” The first was in March of 1993 after he was convicted of “throwing a substance at a vehicle with intent to cause great bodily injury.” He paroled in October of 1993.

Crossland was sentenced again two years later for transporting/importing a controlled substance before being paroled in November of 1996.

Waters said Crossland returned to prison in September of 1999 for manufacturing, sale and possession of a weapon and was released from parole in May of 2005 before returning to state custody six months later after being sentenced for forgery. He was last paroled in April of 2007.



  • local observer

    so basically he was just another meth monster. we need to get serious about this.

  • What’s also adds to this tragedy is that Crossland should have never been out in public. California laws are responsible for this death. His history shows it was only a matter of time before an innocent person paid a price. Now, and years ago, we continue to put ‘bad people’ back on the streets so these kinds of things can happen. When will everyone say “Enough is enough, consequences have to change.”!!

    • Ever watch ‘Dexter’?

      • You know, I have to agree in this one. Once someone has proven they will always be violent then why not save others from him.

    • I agree 100%. There are a hell of a lot of Ronald Crosslands walking our streets. Who will be the next victim? Get the laws changed. Pay attention who you vote for.

      • Which particular changes do you want?

        • Crowd of fools

          Ones thst allow a cite and release to occur. The ones that have dropped some felonies down to misdemeanors. Keep those in prison that belong in prison. You know, all the laws that were changed by Jerry Brown thst keeps the criminals on the streets instead of being locked up. Why do you even need to ask? Seriously!

        • Crowd of fools

          Who is the troll guest? I answered your stupid question. People so casually throw out troll now adays. Do you even know what a legit internet troll is? Perhaps you can relate to moron better.

      • jerry brown is a clown! deplorable set of skills!

  • This is a major tragedy that shouldn’t have happened, and it wouldn’t have if the other person Nicole “Nicky” Rene Ellis would’ve pressed charges on him like she was supposed to for beating her up in front of her work at St. Joseph’s hospital in Eureka while he was still in custody up until last month April 23 when he was released from jail, but she didn’t! Not to mention all the phone threats that she was receiving from Ron prior to the kindest person in the world Sherrys murder that Nicky should’ve taken to the police but chose not too, and for that reason Nicole Ellis is just as guilty for Sherrys death as that piece of worthless shit Ron! Nicky had been warned by many multiple times, and didn’t care to listen to anyone although she had experienced him beating on her herself!

    • Blaming the victim of domestic violence for not doing more is pretty troubling.

      • A victim by choice because of her not pressing charges while he was in jail for beating her up to begin with this wouldn’t have happened! Than Nicky was always playing head games with him thinking it was all fun and games when she was warned to stay away from him and threatened to lose her job if she didn’t press charges against him! Well she didn’t and now this. Yes its a very serious situation.

        • You have no idea or understanding on domestic violence. The victim has been conditioned to these behaviors over the years. I’m sure there were times, she thought of changing but ever hear the phase, “Love is blind!” Unfortunately this is too true when it comes to these situations. Yes, it would have been great if the victim found strength sooner, unfortunately it didn’t happen and a tragedy set forth. Its still not her fault, so stop victim blaming and maybe volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter. Maybe your strength can help another person find it in themselves to leave an unhealthy situation, as such & help future families avoid such a tragedy.

        • Fuck anyone that blames a victim of domestic abuse. You’re full of crap.

          • Nonetheless he makes a good point.

            • He doesn’t. People who are beat down and brainwashed by abusers often do not have the ability to escape or confront their captors. The reward for trying is very often violence and death. Success is rewarded by poverty, uncertainty, and scorn from people who blame the victim instead of the sick perps who abused them. It’s easier to blame the victim, because then you feel they deserved it and it doesn’t have to bother you any more. These attitudes comfort the bystanders and enable the abusers.

          • 👍, don’t blame the victims, blame the criminal.

            • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

              Blaming the victim is what conservatives do. It doesn’t require much thought blaming victims, and you know how emotionally disturbing most conservatives find thought to be on most days, with some notable exceptions like George Will, David Brooks, and Charlie Sykes for instance. Plus, these constantly blaming-the-victim conservatives tend to have authoritarian personalities & fall in line behind those in power positions incredibly easily – WWII anyone?

              • On the other hand, liberals always blame society. Or conservatives. Liberals are very flexible that way. Doesn’t require any thought either. In fact thought obviously impairs this sort of liberal agenda.

      • Yes – it’s a tough one. But not uncommon – some people don’t understand the total mindf**k such situations can be, and how easy it is for people to endanger their own lives when such things happen. Throw in substance use, and by sheer probability tragedies are bound to happen.
        In the old days, I’d sooner have jumped off a cliff than dial 911, but these days I’m less patient – things can ramp up so quickly, and if weapons are available, one wrong decision can be the start of a serious incident.
        For myself, anger management classes would be good – lost a lot of patience with aberrant behavior and BS. But I’d like to recommend people try to watch each other’s backs as much as possible.
        As far as calling law enforcement goes, maybe better to do so and be wrong than risk this kind of thing. Does that make me a snitch? Fine……just got into trouble with an old friend who lives out of the area because of a health and welfare check, LOL – but again, better safe than sorry.
        Other than that, YMMV, but so sad to hear this kind of thing – Kym, you’re immersed in this stuff every day, dunno how you do it – cheers, and prayers for all concerned….

      • Women who are the victims of domestic violence are usually unwilling to come forward to press charges because their abuser has threatened their lives or the lives of their family. Please do not judge their decisions until you have been in their untenable position.

        • Yet how many times do the police have to say there is nothing they can do because the victim will not cooperate?

          • DA can press charges…victim doesn’t need to. Leaving an abuser gets women killed…pressing charges or not, the abuser always gets released….ready to find you and do more damage….and it always gets worse.

            • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

              Which is exactly why PEOPLE OTHER THAN THE VICTIM need to contact law enforcement to report the abuse, then that puts more pressure on law enforcement to take the situation seriously enough to do their jobs properly.

              C’mon folks, are you that concerned about one of Humboldt’s dumbest criminals (there are so many) calling you a “snitch”? Why? Does it hurt your feelings? 😭 Do the right thing, people. Call the police (multiple times if necessary), otherwise there’s no chance of stopping the next tragedy before it happens.

            • But without the victim’s cooperation what are the chances of any conviction? It’s not blaming the victim to deal with the reality that the accused has rights too and the burden of the proving the case lies with the prosecution.

    • Could it be possible she feared he would kill her for pressing charges? It would seem to be a valid fear, if so.

  • Sherry McDonald is a hero! Too bad this monster was let out so many times to inflict harm on the community.

  • Karmawillgetusalleventually

    I know those who say don’t blame the victim of domestic violence, but those who are commenting know this Nicky and believe us she isn’t a complete victim. So unless you know her personally don’t blame us for having opinions, we know of which we speak. Sherry should not have died.

    • You clearly don’t understand power dynamics. Nicky is not to blame for anyone’s death, she and Sharral were both victims of this violent man. I hope the community supports her in getting the help she needs.

      • Leash your dogma please

        I think there’s confusion between being a victim and being responsible for the outcome in a situation. I’m not saying this is the case here, since I don’t know any of the people involved or the facts of this particular situation.

        However, it is naive and dogmatic to say that because some-one is the victim of domestic violence (or any crime) that they automatically have no responsibility for the outcome.

        • It’s fucked up how many jackasses on this website blame the victim. Glad you’re not my relatives. The ignorance and sociopathic lack of empathy of some of you alleged humans is disgusting.

          • Exactly what I was thinking!

          • Being a victim is not the same as being innocent. People who behave very badly can be victimized by someone else. And in fact frequently are. Life is complicated.

            You’re right about too much judgement going on but the worse levels of it are those who presume to engage in judging other posters for not agreeing with their personal standards.

            • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

              Wrong. We’re allowed to disagree with each other. This is still America, regardless of the unfortunate fact that a serial sexual abuser & domestic violence perpetrator named Donald Trump is currently illegimately occupying the White Supremecist House. 🇷🇺

              • Wow. A conservative ideal not held by many liberals these days- freedom of speech. Of course it is most interpreted by liberals as the right to be as nasty as they want while demanding others be quiet. Or maybe they just mean the right time your louder. It’s hard to tell.

    • Crime is not taken seriously enough and it is a huge problem. When the victims that actually have the power to make a difference DONT try to make that difference and ignore dangerous violent behavior, other people end up suffering because of someones mercy, fear, guilt, whatever it is that stops people from pressing charges on these psychos. To say the victim is never at any kind of fault is silly. Of course it is not their fault they were victimized, but how you handle that victimization can put a person at fault, and put the lives of others in danger. Take the broad picture into account when dealing with these violent whackos. Their actions rarely affect just one person, so when you pursue a criminal based on one victim keep in mind most criminals seek more than one victim, and will hurt multiple people to get that one.

  • This is yet another horrible tragedy, my heart goes out to those who knew this courageous lady who lost her life. Our criminals need to be kept locked up where they belong how many senseless murders have to happen before California laws change!

    • unbridled philistine

      Yes! Stephanie this whole thing could have been avoided with stricter anti gun laws on the books! Everybody knows laws keep felons from having fire arms!

  • Ms. McDonald apparently behaved with selfless courage trying to help another. That makes her a hero. I’m sorry her family and friends had to suffer her loss.

  • Sorry Kym. Honey I know I’m a hard old woman but I’ve had to be. I had no one to stand up for me when I was growing up so I had to stand up for myself. I learned real young when someone is hurting you, you hurt them back and because they are cowards they will leave you alone. So honey when you feel I am out of line just delete. Take care honey.

    • Don’t worry about it. You take care, too.

    • Well put. How do you do that, I mean hurt them enough so they leave you alone?

      • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

        If the abuser is employed, let them know that they will become unemployed with one phone call to their boss if they don’t fuck off and go away for good permanently.

        If the abuser is a criminal trying to stash illegal cash away from the eyes of the IRS, give the IRS a call and report their criminal tax evasion.

        If the abuser is still on good terms with their family of origin, call those family members and tell them what’s going on in detail and what a monster their family member really is (as if they don’t already know…but sometimes they don’t know the full extent of it…)

        If the abuser has committed other crimes against other people (and they no doubt have), report those other crimes along with the crimes committed against you to police. 🚔

        P.S. – Based upon the large number of blame-the-victim comments in this thread (which is not surprising considering the fact that the Humboldt County blogosphere comments sections resemble a support group – a right-wing support group – just call it “Conservatives Anonymous” instead of Alcoholics Anonymous… well, maybe those right-wingers are doing some drinking too…) I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a couple of these blame-the-victim commentors are domestic abusers themselves! And, oh, by the way, Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” statement was absolutely on the mark.

  • How about felons get “fixed” so they can’t have any kids? We need some sort of population control anyway, so why not start with the lowlifes.

    • Way too easy and obvious. However, there are forces (supposedly religious) who hold the right to procreate, indeed, the duty to do so, as our highest, most sacred freedom. People who follow those forces would spin around in no time from a position of “Kill all the low-lifes” to “You can’t start telling people who can have kids or not, that’s a given.” (Same attitude as the anti-choice “Don’t kill the fetus, wait ’til it’s a full-blown human.”)
      It’s enough to make me wonder if there isn’t a real motive somewhere, amongst the powers that be, for keeping a huge, ignorant, poor, desperate, and violent underclass. I suppose as long as they are safe in their gated communities and bullet-proof luxury cars (or whatever stops the lead), they can let the world go to hell.
      Yep, your comment reminded me that Crossland was evidently a shoulda-been abortion.

  • Hang that piece of shit ! this kind of stuff makes you want to mind your own business when you see something going on and it just sucks…

  • Well how about this???? Nicole Ellis KNEW THIS MAN WAS DANGEROUS!!! And I know FIRST HAND that she used Sherry for her kindness and she only contacted Sherry when she needed something. She knew that Sherry was going to help her move her stuff into storage and she used her. She brought Sherry into that environment and Sherry had no idea what this man was capable of. So regardless, yes Nicole IS guilty in some part. She is a user of people and she used Sherry and Sherry lost her life. No Nicole didn’t pull the trigger but she knew FULL WELL ABOUT THIS POS. And she wants to be in hiding…She’s a coward. And incidentally no one liked her in Sherry’s family. They used Nicole was being used but Sherry never saw the bad in people. She was just so kindhearted

  • Oh and guess what? If she was such a victim all she had to do was have the EPD do a stand by while she was moving her stuff. But no she didn’t now did she????

  • This is why you should never get involved in someone else’s domestic violence situation. You might get killed.

    • ↑↑This↑↑

    • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

      Capital “G”’Guest, you are truly a dumbass without the slightest clue about domestic violence, and no one should ever take your advice on anything. Seriously… anything EVER.

      However, lower case “g”’guest – you are awesome! Keep up the good work…

      • Guest or guest or ???

        Mistakes are your forte apparently as upper or lower case guest is not one individual at all. Makes it hard to seperate the targets of all your vitriol, which is what you apparently find important to do. You might be in danger of having to read a comment before spewing. Argh! And you do love your stereotypical thinking.

  • Kym im wondering if anyone on your team could interview the women who operate the wish house and other safe houses for women in abusive situations. I think this awful tragedy can be a teaching moment for those who dont understand how most domestic violence situations work, judging from the comments many dont get it.

    I had a friend who was one of the on call folks at night for the womens safe house. This is how it worked, a woman who was usually terrified of being killed would call the hotline and say she was ready to go. My friend and said woman would arrange a meet spot for woman to get picked up. Sometimes the womans life was so controlled that all she could do was run out of the house to meet once she knew my friend was waiting.

    Numerous times that she got called and went to pick up the woman in danger, she would be chased by anywhere between 1-4 guys in a vehicle shooting at her and the woman. “If I cant have her no one can” being the big reason.
    The safe houses are not publicly known because of that type of danger.
    So calling the EPD to be there so she could safely move out would make no difference. Calling the cops to do that would have put the woman in greater danger, are you really so ignorant to think a man like this would just say oh well the cops helped her move out so ill just forget about her??? WTF??? It would be great if the police and DA made a policy of taking people to jail on the charges they can arrest the man for like disturbing the peace or whatever lesser charge applied. This is NOT a new issue so obviously just calling the EPD doesnt work.
    I personally know women who called the cops and the man told them shes craxy, you know how women are kinda thing and the cops went away and the woman ended up in the hospital because she called. It only takes a few times of that happening before word gets around that calling the cops does nothing. Does the EPD have a trained domestic violence unit? Do you know their protocol?

    Like many crimes against women, abuse is about power. Its a psychological warfare. Most abusers are very sweet at times, the ultimate goal is to create a completely controlled woman. Abusers will control money as well as who the woman can talk to or see. A classic abuser line is like ” im so sorry I hit you but if you wouldn’t have made me do it by (insert reason here ie didnt wash my clothes) I wouldn’t have had to”

    This is a very serious issue everywhere that Is often overlooked as unfortunately a large percentage of police are abusers at home. Thats why they had to scrap the law banning domestic violence offenders from owning guns, over half were police.

    The men who have committed mass shootings in the past two years were all abusers at home. Highly recommend watching the Showtime series called America under fire. They talk to the families of the shooters, its pretty f*ckin clear what the warning signs are! The abusers dont just hit sexual partners, they abuse all family members.

    Sorry to have to bring up race but its a fact that white men do less time than colored men across the board for the same crimes. We need to hold all abusers responsible whatever their color.

    I know its hard to understand why a woman wouldn’t press charges, but you cant blame her. His friends could come kill her even if her boyfriends in jail.
    Or he will when he gets out. She knows he won’t be in for long anyway so it may be more dangerous for her to send him to jail than not.
    The laws need to be enforced and abusers should be held and punished.
    Its so sad to hear folks blame the victim, i have to say in any other feed on a crime story everyone is bitching about repeat offenders and known criminals not being in jail etc.
    You are proving what the big problem really is, when it comes to abusing women you’d rather blame the woman than the system. Ask yourself why that is.

    “Did you know that in the U.S., more women are killed by intimate partners — their boyfriends, husbands and exes — than any other type of perpetrator?

    On average, that works out to three women dead every single day.”

    The other common outcome is the woman fights back and kills the guy to save herself/kids and even if its self defense the majority of the time the woman goes to jail. Look up those stats and stories, its off the charts crazy

    • EPD no longer does civil standbys. We are on our own when it comes to moving out of dangerous situations.

    • The part about “The other common outcome is the woman fights back and kills the guy to save herself/kids and even if its self defense the majority of the time the woman goes to jail. Look up those stats and stories, its off the charts crazy” is so true. And so wrong. Police report that domestic violence calls are the most dangerous, yet when a lone woman is in that situation, somehow she is expected to remove herself from the situation rather than protect herself when she has had experience about the man’s unrelenting aggression. It frequently is impossible to really remove herself as he keeps coming and she gets no assistance while trying to doing so. She’s on her own with a madman hunting her.

  • I’ve helped DV victims once or twice and they always go back and then she told and I’m the asshole in both their minds. Never again. They chose their fate so live (or die) it.

  • Buckster toomany

    Before you pass judgement upon others, just know you’re probably a piece of shit in someone else’s opinion too… Crossland was somebody’s somebody as well.!

  • Between this site and Lost Coast Outpost, the articles are filled daily with repeat felons, felons in possession of guns, repeat DUI’s, repeat child molestation, on and on…. And we still think and vote to reduce sentences, reduce time in prison, and reduce the amount of prisons???? We also like to throw more laws on the books, especially with respect to guns, that are not enforced, mostly because law enforcement knows the criminals will be released before the ink dries! We are so out of wack with what needs to be done because nobody is willing to make the tough choices and do what is right.

    WTF. I would much rather the government spent my hard earned tax money on more prisons and jails to lock these worthless pieces of trash up for a long time, maybe life if the crime suits. This rather than spend it on more assistance programs, and more health professionals that may help a small portion of this criminal population; that is preying on the law abiding citizens in the community over and over again!

    • Crowd of fools

      Yes yes yes. Some people can not be rehabilitated. People need to stop feeling sorry for the criminals.

      • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

        Who feels sorry for criminals? No one that I’m aware of is excusing criminal behavior, not in the least! EXPLAINING criminal behavior is not excusing it. You understand this, right? (Or maybe not…)

        Attempting to rehabilitate convicts (when possible) is a laudatory goal and works in many, many cases. Or are you simply unaware of that fact?

        Now, granted, there are particular types of criminal behavior that are almost impossible to rehabilitate. Pedophilia, for instance. And therefore, I do not believe the correctional system should waste it’s time and resources attempting to rehabilitate pedophiles; they should simply incarcerate them for life.

        Typical right-wing straw man argument. Try harder next time [edit] or bring some actual facts to the table next time.. 🇷🇺

  • Don’t blame the victims, blame the criminal. The justice system is very complicated; it seems even worse when somebody is terrorizing you and then you have to figure out which form to fill out,etc., who to wrote to, what evidence to include; all this while you’re injured by some creep.

    Then even when you manage to press charges and include all the evidence that’s considered hard evidence, they drop the more serious charge in a plea agreement, then don’t even tell you. And all you’ve done is make some maniac even madder and they don’t get punished anyway.

    It’s not the victims fault.

  • Nicole knew better! I warned her.
    This is the paper work … read carefully… how much Nicole isn’t a victim!

  • Sherry is a hero in my book! I can only hope to be half the woman,mother,wife,grandmother that she was a true friend with never a bad word about anyone,I for one will miss her dearly…condolences to her family and rip. My friend,you are truly missed.Thank you for being my friend.

  • R.I.P. Ronnie, and Sherry. we ALL make mistakes in our lives, its the ones who gain wisdom from peoples mistakes in life that know theyre no one really at all to judge, if Ronnie was such a piece of shit tho as most people seem to have declared here all in all as far as i can gather, one would think he’d still be here to tell the story himself, and run himself through our metaphorical “plumbing lines” of a system. But seeing as he took his own life after the incident, i really dont think anyone has any room to judge him, he acted as his own judge D.A and jury, and gave himself an INSTANT death penalty, which is more than most people get as an outcome for justice for their loved ones, my respect and condolences goe to both friends and family of both of the VICTIMS of this horrible tragedy.

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