25-Year-Old Sentenced to 20 Years for Shooting at Fish and Wildlife Officer
Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office:
Today, Judge Feeney sentenced 25-year-old Shawn Hof Jr. of Carlotta, to 20 years in prison for assault with a firearm upon a peace officer (Penal Code section 245(d)(1)) with an enhancement of personally using a firearm (Penal Code section 12022.53(b)), being a felon in possession of a firearm (Penal Code section 29800(a)(1)), using threats and violence upon an executive officer (Penal Code section 69), and negligently discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle (Penal Code section 246.3(a)). Mr. Hof was also convicted of a misdemeanor violation of “spotlighting,” using artificial light to hunt wildlife (Fish and Game Code section 2005(a)). By law, Mr. Hof must serve a minimum of 85% of his 20-year term because of the serious nature of the offenses.
On August 21, 2016 at about 12:40 am, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Matthew Wells attempted to stop two individuals in a truck who were spotlighting along Redwood House Road off Highway 36 near Carlotta. Mr. Hof fired a .45-caliber pistol approximately six times in the direction of Officer Wells, who was in his patrol truck. A vehicle pursuit ensued, during which Mr. Hof jumped into the passenger seat of the truck, reloaded his pistol, and fired approximately four more times in the direction of Officer Wells. None of the shots hit the officer or his patrol vehicle. The 8-mile pursuit ended when the driver, 19-year-old Thomas Wheeler of Fortuna, lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Mr. Hof and Mr. Wheeler fled the scene, but law enforcement investigators identified the two suspects shortly after. Mr. Hof surrendered to law enforcement officers in August 2017.
The accomplice, Mr. Wheeler, was sentenced last month to a suspended sentence of eight years in state prison for aiding and abetting the assault on a peace officer using a firearm (Penal Code section 245(d)(1)), evading a peace officer with wanton and reckless disregard for person and property (Vehicle code section 2800.2(a)), two misdemeanor violations for allowing another person to shoot from a vehicle, and spotlighting.
Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, who prosecuted the case, stated that, “Officer Wells showed incredible resolve in pursuing the two defendants despite taking fire while alone in a remote area of our County in the middle of the night. I appreciate his dedication to protecting our natural resources and commitment to protecting the public.”
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