An early-morning phone call about a disturbance of the peace led to an altercation with police and the ultimate demise of a young Fortuna man today.
Jacob Robert Newmaker, 26, was pronounced dead at Redwood Memorial Hospital after he was transported there to be treated for a gunshot wound at the hands of an unnamed Fortuna Police Department officer.
It all started at about 6:10 a.m. when the FPD responded to the 1100 block of Angel Heights Drive on a call involving a male suspect who was allegedly under the influence and banging on the reporting persons’ door and windows.
Upon responding, the cops were told that the subject had left the area on bicycle, and law enforcement caught up to the man in the area of Vista Drive and 11th Street. At first attempting to flee, the man supposedly became physically combative with the responding officer, who unsuccessfully tried to subdue him with a taser, according to a press statement by chief Bill Dobberstein.
The FPD side of the story concludes with the arrival of a second unit, who allegedly witnessed the subject continue to be physically combative. Verbal commands, control holds, pepper spray and baton strikes were all used, but were apparently ineffective, and in a violent struggle the subject grabbed one of the cops’ batons. When the subject was about to strike the officer with his own nightstick, the other cop fired his gun at the man, later identified as Newmaker.
Life saving measures were attempted and the subject succumbed to his injuries a short while later at the hospital.
Humboldt County’s Critical Incident Response Team was activated and an investigation is underway with assistance from FPD, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office, Eureka Police Department and Arcata Police Department. Further assistance was provided by the Rio Dell Police Department, Cal Fire and Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department.