Mad River Union
ARCATA – Joshua Adelynia Hoffman, 26, the former Eureka resident accused of assault with a deadly weapon against an Arcata police officer in May, is free on his own recognizance, pending a decision by the District Attorney’s office on whether to prosecute.
Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said in an interview that the schedule for the D.A.’s decision is uncertain.
In the meantime, Hoffman has been seen occasionally by Arcata officers moving about town. They did not contact him.
Following hospitalization with four bullet wounds, Hoffman was booked on two felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer and of resisting an executive officer.
Also pending are District Attorney findings and recommendations drawn from an interagency investigative report of the May 17 officer involved shooting. It took place at the Shell Food Mart at 14th and G streets in Arcata, opposite Pho Hoang restaurant.
Hoffman underwent surgery for two gunshot wounds to the torso and one each to his right arm and right leg in a confrontation with APD officers Don Arminio and Matthew O’Donovan. They were summoned to the Shell station on a report that Hoffman was behaving erratically and swinging a wood stick and metal cane in a martial-like manner.
According to Chapman’s account, Arminio shot the suspect with his standard issue Glock Model 22 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun when Hoffman closed in on the officers in a threatening manner. He didn’t halt when O’Donovan based him in a last-moment attempt to end the clash without shooting him.
Hoffman had to be pinned down as he struggled to get up, even after being wounded four times. “There was a little bit of a struggle” before the officers succeeded in handcuffing him and administering first aid, Chapman said at the time.
The 300-page investigative report compiled by the Critical Incident Response Team, referred to District Attorney Maggie Fleming earlier this summer, includes interviews with at least 40 eye and ear witnesses. Attached is about an hour of footage from video cameras in the three city patrol cars that sped to the scene.
About four-to-five minutes of the video center on the struggle with Hoffman.
Four to six Shell cameras added about 15 minutes to the video surveillance recordings.
Based on the interagency review, Fleming will rule on whether the officers acted appropriately and if any operational or policy changes are merited in the wake of the shooting.
In a press briefing the day after the May confrontation, Chapman said Hoffman defied the officers’ instructions to drop the stick and cane. They tried to de-escalate the faceoff orally as Hoffman allegedly swung both weapons at them in a menacing fashion.
Hoffman charged one of the two officers suddenly with the metal cane raised up over his head, according to Chapman’s account. That was “an apparent attempt to assault the officer,” the chief said. “It was clear, at least to me, he was trying to attack the officer with the metal cane.”
Arminio and O’Donovan immediately began life-saving operations and summoned an ambulance.