Suspect shot, apprehended.
On the morning of Friday, February 19, 2021, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks rangers responded to a report of an individual brandishing a firearm and threatening visitors on the Big Trees Trail in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, prompting a temporary closure of the Generals Highway. Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, public affairs officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, stated that the armed man exited the park at Ash Mountain, reportedly driving a white Toyota Prius. The incident caused the closure of Sequoia National Park for about two hours.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., the same man reportedly stopped at the Three Rivers Chevron Station directly across from Three Rivers Union School. According to Dennis Rich of Rich’s Repairs at the station, the man was belligerent and making threats. As the suspect drove away from the gas station, Rich reported hearing two gunshots.
Kyle Stark, Three Rivers resident deputy, arrived on the scene shortly after to investigate and notified Three Rivers School to initiate a lockdown. Lynda LeFave, TRUS business manager, reported hearing what she thought might have been a car backfiring. Deputy Stark taped off the area around the mini mart and gas pumps and also taped off the westbound lane of Highway 198 between the Chevron Station and Cort Gallery. Gunman causes Sequoia closure
The suspect continued westbound on Highway 198 where according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, he was pursued by deputies and officers of the California Highway Patrol. It is reported that during the pursuit, the suspect began firing at officers from the window of his vehicle.
According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect’s vehicle crashed in an orchard near Road 196, north of Highway 198 from the Exeter stoplights. At that point, the suspect exited the vehicle and attempted to flee. Gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and law enforcement officers. One CHP officer was wounded in the shoulder and airlifted from the scene. She is expected to recover. The suspect was shot in the upper torso and taken to a local hospital. His condition is unknown.
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