A teenager from Hoopa -- a small, rural town tucked deep in the forests of Northern California on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation -- was shot and killed by a California Highway Patrol officer after the teen allegedly attacked the officer with a machete.
The Eureka Times-Standard reports that the teen machete attack took place in the relatively quiet "Bigfoot Country" town of Willow Creek, CA, a popular tourist and gateway-to-recreation town located on Highway 299 about 300 miles north of San Francisco. The CHP officer that was attacked is a Willow Creek resident officer and the teen machete attacker went after the CHP officer about 1:35 a.m. Thursday at Blue Jay Lane and Highway 299.
The teen had reportedly driven into a telephone pole when the resident CHP officer approached him. "They walked back together to the back of (the driver's) car and there was a sudden, violent attack," said California Highway Patrol Captain Adam Jager. "Unexpectedly, (the teen attacker) pulled out a machete."
According to Jager, the CHP officer blocked the initial machete attack by raising his left arm, thinking the machete was a collapsible baton. The officer soon realized it was some type of sword, however, after taking the strike to his left arm, which was followed by additional hits by the machete to his hand and face.
"The officer feared for his life, of course, as he went down," said Jager, stating that the officer then fired his gun, leading to a sudden battle of life or death and extremely erratic behavior by the teen.
"The officer was able to miraculously maintain his balance, retreat around his patrol car, get into his patrol car, locked the doors, and called for help. Apparently, the (teen) driver got back into his car and was honking his horn."The number of shots fired and/or where they hit the teen following the machete attack have not been released.
It was 10 minutes before an additional Willow Creek resident officer showed up and found the 17-year-old laying naked on the ground next to his car, said Jager.
"He tried to give some commands to the driver and the driver was not responsive to any commands, and was being completely erratic and irrational," Jager said.
The irrational behavior continued, leading to the officer taze the now naked teen machete attacker. But even this didn't bring the teen under control. With the help of two witnesses, the second officer was finally to get the teen handcuffed, and other officers and paramedics arrived on scene to give the teen medical attention.
By that time, however, the teenager reportedly died at the scene.
"It is terrible," Jager said. "It is a terrible thing that happened there. This is a 17-year-old kid from Hoopa. Our hearts go out to the family of this young man."
The CHP officer is in the hospital and being treated for major injuries, the AP reports.
According Jager, the unnamed officer just transferred to the Humboldt Area CHP from the Bay Area on December 2. His CHP career has spanned two years. No motives for the attack have been established and the Willow creek CHP officer didn't know the teen machete attacker, Jager said.
Several schools in the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District were closed on Friday following the machete attack and teen's death, according to Superintendent Jon Ray.
"I just felt it was better," said Ray. "This situation happened and it would be better for our kids and families to be together rather than coming to school."
The name of the teen machete attacker, apparently a student in the district, is not being released at this time, said Ray.
"It has a large impact, especially with students and kids, when they know somebody and know them very well and see them every day at school," said the superintendent. "With everyone, it is hard to get through something like that."
[Image via Google Images]