DA: Officers Who Fatally Shot Man At Fire Checkpoint Wont Face Charges

Siskiyou County’s District Attorney has cleared officers of wrongdoing in a shooting last year during the Lava Fire that sent ripples of resentment through the Hmong Community. Following the shooting of 35-year-old Soobleej Kaub Hawj on June 28th of last year, protests were held at the County Courthouse in Yreka by community members demanding an independent external investigation. Hawj was shot by law enforcement near the Lava Fire evacuation zone. The Kansas man was visiting family when he met with trouble at a roadblock and, according to the Sheriff and the DA, he brandished a gun and pointed it at an Etna Police Officer. Other officers and deputies saw the 45 caliber gun in Hawj’s hand and 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. In addition to the 45, Hawj also had an AR-15 with 24 rounds of ammo in a magazine drum fitted with a homemade silencer, as well as an AK-47-style rifle with a fully loaded 30 round magazine, and a loaded 9 millimeter handgun. In the back of the truck were several plastic totes containing 134 Pounds of partially processed cannabis The already tense relationship between the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department and the Hmong population of the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision became even more tense by the Lava Fire, which shed light on the lack of water sources in the community. The DA’s Office says the shooting of Hawj was justified because of his apparently imminent intention of shooting at officers.