Aug 18, 2016

David Fulton at one point called 911 told law enforcement to go home, he was not coming out

A press conference was held this morning in the Humboldt County Jail briefing room regarding the McKinleyville standoff.

Sheriff Mike Downey told the media that he chose to have the press conference "here rather than the scene since the incident has wrapped up."

There will be more information later in the day and tomorrow via press releases.

"I would have hoped for a different outcome," said Sheriff Downey, "but we don't have control over all aspects."

Sheriff Downey recapped the timeline, some of which has been shared in various coverage but what was new was details that happened during the day, efforts that were made, until the discussion came to a standstill around 7 p.m. HCSO was prepared to wait it out but at 1 a.m. events took a different and Sheriff Downey described what led to the suspect being detained. Fulton was "declared deceased at 2 a.m."







Sheriff Downey said that "dialogue started to crumble" around 7 p.m. Fulton would not answer the phone. His "significant other" would not answer the phone.

Fulton called 911 and told dispatch, "I'm not coming out, your people need to leave. We couldn't leave; shots had been fired."





"Sometime around 1 p.m., we had just exchanged teams, taken one tactical team out to rest, another tactical team" was in place. Lights were on the apartment complex. Power that had been shut off was restored after 1 a.m. Law enforcement tried to establish contact. Fulton was not answering either of the two cell phones, calls were going to voice mail and voice mail was full."

Law enforcement continued communications with the PA system. Shots were fired inside the apartment. At 1:10 "The female was yelling they weren't coming out." At 1:15, law enforcement after law enforcement decided to "port the window with a flashbang."

Again, shots were fired by Fulton. Law enforcement could not contact Fulton.

At 1:25, the woman was able to exit the apartment. This was followed by gunfire with Fulton shooting from the window and led to an exchange with police.

Law enforcement heard movement inside, said Sheriff Downey, sounded like "metal being broken."

They had knowledge that the apartment had natural gas, they shut the gas off to the apartment.  They saw smoke and "a few minutes later flame."

"Now, we had another situation where the apartment was on fire," said Sheriff Downey.

"There is an assumption that he started the fire and the gas line was breached," said Sheriff Downey.

Earlier in the day, Fulton had come out and "doused things with a liquid and threatened to start a fire."

"We did not have an opportunity to introduce chemical gas; even if we did it was not incendiary."

Fulton was at the landing shooting at law enforcement, said Sheriff Downey. "Commands were given to show hands."

Around 1:59/2 a.m. "deputies went up the stairwell and were able to get hold of,Mr. Fulton and handcuff him. Medical was on scene. At 2:05, he was deceased."

An autopsy will confirm cause of death. Sheriff Downey said that death could have been due to "shots exchanged" but there was also "black singeing" on Fulton's face.

His long time girlfriend was in the apartment and she was not charged with a crime. After shots in the morning, no shooting until 1 a.m. today. These are factors why no action was taken before this morning; the hope was to resolve this peacefully.

The girlfriend was not a hostage, was in the apartment of her own free will. When she left early this morning, she told law enforcement that she feared for her life. She is not being charged. She had a calming effect on Fulton until the situation escalated later.

Sheriff Michael Downey said that the catalyst to the shots being fired in the morning was Fulton being upset about his car being towed. There were other factors discussed during conversation with mental health and the negotiators.


Sheriff Downey said Fulton was "shooting indiscriminately inside the building. He went out in the common area and deliberately shot at the office which was surrounded by apartments" Neighbors in Fulton's apartment building reported bullet holes in their apartment.


Sheriff Downey reiterated how grateful he was that no civilians or officers were injured. "by grace of God, no one was hit."

He thanked all the agencies that assisted, but especially thanked Thomas Home Center, Arcata Fire Volunteers, Sheriff Tom Allman and the community of Mckinleyville for being so supportive.

Sheriff Downey did not have details of Fulton's criminal history but said "he had prior contacts" with HCSO and a mental health history.

HCSo is aware of surveillance video from community members of the shooting which was shared on social media. It will be reviewed by the District Attorney's office to see if the shooting was lawful. "We are in the process of obtaining that video," said Undersheriff William Honsal.

The officers in the gunfire exchange with Fulton have been placed on administrative leave until investigation is complete.

HCSO has "brought in other agencies" to assist with the investigation, this includes investigators from the District Attorney's office, EPD, and APD. A officer from Fortuna Police Department and an officer from HSU Police department also assisted HCSO on August 18.

"When you look at a long-term incident like this, you plan for operational periods," said Sheriff Downey. "This morning Pelican Bay was sending their team down to relieve our people; we called their team off."

The last time the Sheriff's office used a Bear Cat was two years ago in Shelter Cove. Sheriff Downey said, we have a good agreement with Sheriff Allman."

HCSo is aware of


The investigation will include talking to people at the apartment complex.

The weapon used was not an assault rifle but a long gun and at the press conference, Sheriff Downey did not want to release the caliber of the ammunition.

When HCSO spoke to friends of Fulton's on August 17, they were not aware of Fulton owning anything other than BB guns.



HCSO Press Release:


On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at about 9:00 a.m. Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs responded to the Redwood Creek Apartment Complex on Sutter Rd in McKinleyville for reports of shots fired. It was reported to law enforcement that 59 year old David Alan Fulton had fired shots into the area of the apartment manager’s office. Shortly after Deputies arrived on scene and set a perimeter around the complex, Fulton fired shots at Deputies with a long gun. Deputies returned fire and Fulton retreated into his apartment.
CHP, APD, EPD, Cal Fire, State Parks, and Fish and Game responded to the scene and assisted Sheriffs Deputies. The Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was deployed and the Mendocino County SWAT team also responded with their BearCat rescue vehicle to assist. Residents in the area were advised via mass notification system, to shelter in place.
It was later confirmed that a female was with Fulton in his apartment. She has been identified as his long-time girlfriend. She voluntarily stayed with Fulton claiming she had a calming effect on him. Deputies requested the female leave the apartment but she refused and chose to stay with Fulton. Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Team responded and attempted to negotiate with Fulton throughout the night. Fulton refused to cooperate with negotiators.
Deputies continued to attempt phone contact with Fulton without success. At about 1:10 a.m. the female in Fulton’s apartment shouted to law enforcement that she and Fulton were not coming out. Phone contact continued to be unsuccessful. At about 1:20 a.m. the female voluntarily exited the residence, shortly thereafter Fulton fired more shots at law enforcement from inside the apartment, at which point Deputies briefly returned fire. Deputies prepared to use chemical agents and soon noticed black smoke coming from Fulton’s apartment. Moments later Deputies saw flames inside the apartment. Fulton exited the apartment and fired several shots at Deputies, at which point Deputies again returned fire.
At 2:05 a.m. Deputies moved in and located Fulton. Fulton was not moving and was pronounced deceased by on scene medical personnel. Fire personnel responded to the back of the apartment and suppressed the fire. No members of law enforcement or uninvolved citizens were injured during this incident.


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