Hmong Community Demands Independent Investigation Into Fatal Shooting

The Hmong community in Siskiyou County held a demonstration Saturday at the county courthouse in Yreka. They were demanding an independent external investigation into the death of 35-year-old Soobleej Kaub Hawj, a Kansas man shot by law enforcement near the Lava Fire evacuation zone on June 28th. Hawj was visiting family when he met with trouble at a roadblock and, according to the sheriff, brandished a gun and possibly fired shots. The official account of the incident differs sharply with reports from some witnesses. Hawj was shot dead by officers from at least 3 different law enforcement agencies. His wife and three children were apparently in a car right behind him and witnessed the death. Members of the Hmong community say they were actually trying to escape the fire zone. The already tense relationship between the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department and the Hmong population of the Mount Shasta Vista subdivision has become even more tense by the Lava Fire, which has shed light on the lack of water sources in the community.