In May of 1994 my wife and I wound up owning a 120 acre ranch in extreme northern California. It was beautiful and overlooking the Klamath river with meadows and lots of timber. We were self sufficient regarding power, water etc. with no grid access. Part of the ranch was on the Yurok Indian reservation and we had an excellent relationship with both the tribal members who were our neighbors as well as the tribal bureaucracy. After moving in we improved the fallen down shack which existed there into a beautiful home.
We utilized the local talent in making property improvements and made several “friends”. During this 10 year idyl it became common knowledge that I had been a peace officer in my prior life. This was necessary in order to explain our not being involved in the widespread marijuana cultivation in the area. This was no problem with any of the local people (with one exception who incidentally is not an indian) as we believe in minding our own business even in an area of intensive clandestine farming.
Due to the “one exception” mentioned above being the part owner of the adjacent parcel of land and using areas of our property as both a rubbish dump and a pot garden I had to regularly patrol the property line. In July of 2002 while on such a patrol I was hailed by him and ordered to leave the area. Being on my own property, I refused and he began shooting in my direction. I was at the time not armed and notified the local “law enforcement” agency. A “deputy” reluctantly responded after several hours and took notes for a “report”. The deputy also “counseled” the shooter (who is by the way an ex felon and admitted shooting at me) and declined to pursue prosecution.
Subsequent to that incident the situation deteriorated steadily to the point where the one mile water line on which we depended for hydroelectric power and irrigation was severed regularly. Also trash and anonymous notes were regularly dumped on the private roadway near our home as well as several hundred shots being fired in our direction. These incidents were reported to law enforcement to no avail. We were also threatened with bodily harm by members of our neighbor’s family. Even with a restraining order in force the local “law” was absolutely useless. Some of our local “friends” ceased to visit us as they were intimidated by our neighbor and his criminal gang consisting of his 3 late teen early twenty aged sons and their criminal associates. These would often get high on “speed” and attempt to run us off our road driving their old junk cars. In May of 2004 we had had enough and placed the ranch up for sale resolving to relocate to Georgia in order to be near family.
In defense of our property several alarm devices both electronic and mechanical were placed to give warning of trespassers. These devices were all placed at least 100 meters within our property lines. When one of them was activated we would arm ourselves and investigate. This occurred many times. In November a deputy with the local sheriff’s department arrived at our gate and advised he was investigating a report of “booby traps” on our property. I advised him that we had no “booby traps” and and he advised me that “a neighbor” had discovered and retrieved a tripwire device armed with a shotgun shell on our property and that this was a “felony” violation of the California penal code. We allowed the deputy accompanied by an “explosives” expert onto the property to search for additional “booby traps” and none were found. The deputy located the spot where the retrieved device had been placed and noted that it had been placed to discharge its blank shell vertically thus being impossible to injure anyone. He advised that he had been given the device by a “neighbor” and would be writing a report for submission to the District Attorney.
The following morning my wife and I were getting ready to place several no trespassing signs on the perimeter of the property when we came upon a vehicle backed up to one of our locked gates. The lock had been cut and the chain had been removed. The neighbor against whom we had a restraining order was entering the vehicle and it began to drive away. I shouted at him to stop and gave chase on foot overtaking it and grasping the door frame enabling me to look inside, recognizing the neighbor and a companion. The vehicle gained speed and I had to let go but it was forced to veer away from the road it intended to take. The vehicle continued down what the driver probably believed to be a dead end and stopped about 75’ from my position. The neighbor exited the passenger door and pointed a rifle at me and fired. At this time I unholstered my .375 mag revolver and fired at him twice apparently missing. He fired again at me and I ducked behind a bush and fired two more rounds at him. He reentered the vehicle and it drove away.
My wife and I returned to our residence and dialed 911 on the cell phone advising the Sheriff’s dispatcher of what had transpired. About 2 hours later we received a call from the Sheriff’s deputy advising that the neighbor had arrived at the Hoopa station to report that I had shot at him. The neighbor pointed to a single bullet hole in the rear of the vehicle and further stated that he had fired a shot gun into the air to frighten me. He produced a long barreled shotgun and was arrested at that time for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The deputy advised that he would respond to our home to investigate. Three hours later the deputy arrived at our house and I walked him through the location of the incident and at his request produced my Smith & Wesson revolver. He located the cut lock on the ground near the gate and the no trespassing signs which I had dropped to give chase. He stated that the neighbor’s version of the events was substantially the same as ours except that I had fired at him first and that his driver had then stopped the vehicle and he had exited to fire the shotgun into the air to frighten me. The deputy stated that the neighbor had signed a private person’s arrest on me (they apparently removed the handcuffs from him for this purpose) and I was transported to and booked at the Humboldt county jail.
I was released after posting a $50,000.00 bail bond and the neighbor spent the following 6 days in jail. The district attorney declined to prosecute either of us in this incident due to “conflicting” evidence
In early December 2004 the sale of our ranch closed and we have relocated to Douglas County in Georgia. Our attorney advised us that the District Attorney in California filed the “booby trap” charge against me and it would require an appearance in criminal court in Humboldt County, California. It appears that these so called “booby trap” devices are only a criminal violation in California. In late July of 2005 the "booby trap" charge was dismissed at the request if the District Attorney's office due to the "unlikelyhood of a conviction". We have subsequently learned from the buyer of our property that the neighbor and his gang were conspiring to burn us out. The neighbor has committed arson in the area on at least 3 occasions.
The above is a true story.