Would-be Redding Rat Patrol Is Yet Another Cautionary Tale

Publicity poster from ABC TV's The Rat Patrol, 1966-68

Publicity poster from ABC TV’s “The Rat Patrol” – 1966-68

If you’re going to go poking your nose around in a homeless camp in the dead of the night, it’s probably a good idea to bring a gun. That doesn’t negate the fact that poking your nose around in a homeless camp in the dead of the night is an exceedingly bad idea in the first place, something I once thought everybody understood, until recent events in Redding proved otherwise.

Early in the morning on Saturday, June 24, five grown men descended upon the small park at the end of Smile Place, just south of the Cypress Avenue bridge on the Sacramento River. It’s infamous for illegal homeless encampments, and perhaps a score of transients had bedded down for the night when the men, four carrying legally permitted concealed handguns and one wearing a mask, entered the park and began beaming their flashlights around the illegal campground.

The sleeping transients didn’t take kindly to the intrusion. According to the Redding Police Department report, weapons were drawn on both sides—an alleged knife and a crowbar in the transients’ case—and the five men retreated to their cars, which were parked nearby. A throng of enraged homeless people surrounded one car, one man allegedly pounding on the sheet metal with a crowbar, another standing in front of the car and taunting the driver to run him over.

“Kill me,” he told the driver, according to one local media report.

Panicked by the men surrounding and pounding on the car, its driver and owner, 27-year-old Bryant Krause of Redding, told police he tried to swerve around the man standing in front of him and accelerate away from the scene. Instead, he accidentally ran over the man, Matthew Miller, 51, who was taken to the emergency room, treated for scrapes and abrasions and released. No one else appears to have been treated for injuries from the altercation.

When I saw Krause’s name on the police report issued by on Monday, June 26, my eyeballs popped out of my head. Earlier that day, A News Cafe had published my latest story, “Two Bikers Down in Redding: A Cautionary Tale on the Use and Abuse of Social Media”. Krause happens to be one of the two motorcyclists referred to in the headline.

Krause alleges that two Hispanic men knocked him over on his motorcycle and roughed him up early in the morning on June 16 near Smile Place. Now here he was in a new police police report, returning to the same area with a carload of armed men a week later in the dead of the night.

There was another eye-opener in the report. The only man named as accompanying Krause was Dan Ryant, who also featured heavily in Two Bikers Down.

Screen grab of Dan Ryant explaining why is CCW training business in Shasta County is on doing well to Redding City Council on June 20.

Screen grab of Dan Ryant explaining why is CCW training business in Shasta County is on doing well to Redding City Council on June 20.

The 44-year-old CCW instructor and former skip tracer from Red Bluff has taken a keen interest in Redding’s ongoing struggle with low level criminals and the homeless, appearing several times to voice his concerns at Redding City Council meetings. After reading Krause’s Facebook posts about the motorcycle incident, he offered to track down the assailants.

Now, here he was one week later in a police report, accompanying Krause and three armed men to Smile Place, waving a firearm at a transient who was allegedly holding a knife, having his weapon and ammo confiscated by the police, being charged with misdemeanor brandishing.

“It’s all been blown out of proportion,” he told me recently by telephone, and there’s more than a little truth to that. I had interviewed Ryant just two days before he decided to jump in with a carload of armed men and pay a midnight visit to the hobo jungle. He had seemed like a reasonable if perhaps overly earnest man.

Possessing investigative skills from prior experience chasing bail jumpers, Ryant had gone down to Smile Place all on his own and tracked down a witness, a transient, to the assault on Krause. That witness also told Ryant the same transients had assaulted another motorcyclist, 28-year-old Ryan Rhodes of Burney, just minutes after Krause had been assaulted, in exactly the same place.

Even though Ryant’s witness turned out to be mistaken—Rhodes crashed his motorcycle all on his own, more than a mile away and an hour after Krause’s alleged assault— some local media ran with the “two bikers taken down by Hispanic transients” story, and I could sense the lynch mob mentality growing on Facebook groups such as Take Back Redding, New Redding Crime, and Redding Area Transient Patrol—R.A.T. Patrol.

Two Bikers Down was labeled a cautionary tale because I had hoped to defuse this mob mentality. Not only was I a little bit too late, two of the story’s subject had already decided to take matters into their own hands, the very thing I was cautioning against.

Both Ryant and Krause may have to pay a heavy price. If Ryant is convicted of misdemeanor brandishing, he may lose his CCW permit and his ability to train others for CCW permits, one of his sources of income. Police are contemplating charging Krause with assault with a deadly weapon—his vehicle. As of this writing, Krause has an attorney, but has yet to be charged.

I spoke to both men for this follow-up story last week, and while they were limited in what they can say about the latest Smile Place incident due to pending legal action, both emphatically agreed that if they had the chance to do it all over, they’d never, ever go poking around a homeless camp in the dead of the night again.


Nothing To Smile About At This Place

Strictly from a tactical standpoint, Smile Place is lousy ground on which to choose a confrontation with the homeless. There’s not a lot of room for maneuvering, just a dozen or so sparsely wooded acres, and the transients have their backs up against the Sacramento River. They’ve got no place to go if provoked, except directly at you, like cornered animals. This is not a secret. Everybody knows you stay away from the people that live down by the river, especially at night.

To be honest, I didn’t want to go to Smile Place in the daytime, because after 30 years on-and-off covering the homeless issue in California, I knew what I was going to find: utter human degradation in this so-called land of plenty. Is it worse here and now in Redding than when I covered it in San Francisco in the early 1980s, or Sacramento in the 1990s and the oughts? No. It’s all the same ugly shade of gray that never goes away, like that paint they use to cover up graffiti.

Eight members of the Guardian Angels, four men and four women, of various ages including old, were standing on the small rise that overlooks the park when I arrived shortly after noon four days after the altercation between concerned citizens armed with handguns and transients armed with knives and crowbars. The GA were there ostensibly as a deterrent to any further skirmishes with the transients in the park, who were mulling about their campsites below, but their presence heightened the feeling that this particular homeless encampment has its back against the wall.

Redding Guardian Angels standing near the scene of the crime in Smile Place.

Redding Guardian Angels standing near the scene of the crime in Smile Place.

And indeed it is against the wall. Most of the people in the park—almost all of whom were white—had been given notice to vacate the park by the RPD and were preparing to move that afternoon, in accordance with the never-ending shell game being played by transients and police.

There was a petite 50-year-old woman who looked maybe a decade younger, except for the missing teeth. Under a sheen of greasy dirt she smelled just like a garbage dump, which happens when you don’t bathe regularly. Drinking was her weakness, she said, but she’s off the sauce and soon hopes to be off the streets. Most of the public faucets in the area have been shut off, so she’s been drinking river water.

She claimed that several nights before, she couldn’t say exactly what date, a motorcyclist drove right up to her tent, shined his light in her eyes and told her if she wasn’t gone when he came back, he’d slit her throat. He roared off, but he didn’t get far, she cackled. A couple of native Americans camping on the other side of the park stopped him and beat his ass.

Instantly, I flashed on the first incident involving Krause on June 16, in which he alleges he was assaulted on his motorcycle by two Hispanic transients near Smile Place shortly after midnight. After further questioning, I realized she was making up a story based on bits and pieces she’d picked up on the hobo grapevine, which nowadays includes social media. I also realized she was quite possibly insane.

That’s the way it is with a good portion of the homeless/transient population that I’ve encountered over the past 30 years. I’d estimate, and some studies have shown, that a good third of the people on the streets suffer from serious, untreated mental illness. Another third are suffering the effects of longterm drug and/or alcohol abuse. Obviously, there’s some overlap, but those ratios appeared to be holding at Smile Place on the day I visited.

One of the cleaner transients at the park that hot afternoon earnestly told me RPD had discovered “28 burned bodies,” all of them homeless people, in a nearby ravine two years ago. A hulking young man in a sawed off pair of khakis added that I should cover “the body parts market” controversy, “people have gone missing.” As these desperate and possibly deranged men began gathering around telling me their stories, it became clear that one of them had soiled his trousers.

A half-dozen of them claimed to be on hand for the melee that had taken place four evenings previously, and several bore fresh fighting wounds from who knows where. One common theme that emerged is the men fervently believe RPD is looking the other way when violence is committed against transients.

One man claimed that two weeks before the Smile Place incident, on the other side of the river, four men had jumped out of car and beat the crap out of a transient, a friend of his, near the abandoned Railey’s building. RPD was there, the man insisted, but did nothing. All of the men insisted these kinds of things are happening all the time.

I have been unable to verify any of their claims, and RPD told me that any rumors of so-called citizen rat patrols ridding Redding’s streets of transients are at this point just that, rumors, often distorted and magnified by social media, which, it bears repeating, many transients are highly active on, thanks to cell phones and free internet access at the Redding Public Library, which is mere blocks away from Smile Place.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a trend we’re seeing,” said RPD Lt. Jeff Wallace. “Occasionally, we have crimes within the transient community. But I am not aware of any specific group going out there assaulting homeless people. I’m not aware of any specific investigation that we’re doing on that.”

Nevertheless, the transients that I talked to at Smile Place were adamant that attacks on the homeless are happening all the time. Some of their claims are obviously outlandish. But some sound realistic. People drive by and throw things from vehicles. I can believe that. One of the more lucid individuals, Bob, offered a reasonable explanation for recent friction between the Smile Place transients and the neighborhood next to them.

According to Bob, a couple of low level criminal transients passed through Smile Place a couple of weeks ago, burglarized some of the nearby houses, and then moved on, leaving the park’s longer-term denizens to take the blame. Bob said he’d like to get his hands on both the low level criminals that burglarized those houses and the guys driving the various pickups that keep driving by and hassling them.

Three days after I talked to Bob, he called me up and informed me some guy had just driven by in a green pickup truck and struck his friend with a bottle.

There’s no sugar-coating homeless encampments like Smile Place. There were a few people there on the day I visited, the younger ones, who looked like they might be capable of returning to the civilized world, if given a leg up. But most of the people living down by the river, easily more than half, are in need of serious longterm professional help. A few were already beyond such help.

Again, this is no secret, really. That’s why everybody knows you don’t go poking your nose around in a homeless camp, especially in the dead of night.

Well, almost everybody.

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

There’s a creepy post on the Redding Area Transient Patrol Facebook page in which the poster claims to be a serial killer of local homeless people who has been acting with impunity for years and will continue to do so. It’s quite convincing, even chilling, but the fact that Facebook hasn’t removed the post after many months leads me to believe it isn’t true.

It’s satire. A troll, and a fairly pathetic troll at that: the poster was fishing for transients logged in at the Redding Public Library.

And lo, sometimes the homeless do respond to the R.A.T. Patrol’s trolls, calling out posters to come down to the library parking lot and fight it out like real men. It’s a sad way to get your kicks.

One classic troll is the super soaker filled with stale urine meme. Supposedly guys are riding around in the back of pickups, just like in the Rat Patrol TV show, except with water guns instead of machine guns, spraying homeless people with piss.

Happening in Redding? No, a publicity still from the Rat Patrol TV series.

Happening in Redding? No, a publicity still from the Rat Patrol TV series.

(Note to R.A.T. Patrol members: If any of you are actually doing this, many transients haven’t bathed for days and already smell like stale urine, so it’s actually redundant.) My point being, it’s a troll, satire, not true, but several of the transients at Smile Place believed it to be true.

Trolling transients is admittedly not everybody’s cup of tea, and R.A.T. Patrol the Facebook page, which encourages members to post videos of homeless encampments and the carnage they leave behind, is an acquired taste.

I belong to the group, sometimes there’s a funny post or a wicked reply. I don’t fire up the truck and head down to Smile Place to harass mentally ill people because a post encourages readers to do so, but I can’t speak for everyone. I do wonder sometimes how certain posts survive Facebook’s censors.

Anyway, it wasn’t the posts on R.A.T. Patrol that were bothering Dan Ryant when I talked to him to him last Thursday. In fact, he’d never heard of the group until RPD brought the subject up while they were questioning him after the Smile Place incident. He was concerned with comments on Take Back Redding and New Redding Crime vilifying Krause, his three colleagues and himself, and he actually put it in that order, too.

“It’s all been blown out of proportion,” said Ryant, who was driving to his attorney’s office as I was speaking to him on the phone. “We are not the people we are being made out to be on Facebook.”

I’ve followed the social media commentary on the story closely, and I think it’s been split pretty much 50-50: Half the people branded Ryant, Krause & Co. as old western style vigilantes; the other half applauded their efforts, with some going as far to suggest maybe it’s time we bring back old western style vigilantes.

It was the latter responses that seemed to concern Ryant the most. His voice cracking with emotion on the phone, he wanted to make it clear he didn’t hate homeless people, he’s been homeless himself, he knows what its like, it can happen to anyone, he’s a Christian, for crying out loud. That some people on Facebook openly promote violence against transients turns his stomach. Seriously, he said that.

“If we’d have thought anything like that would have happened, we wouldn’t have ever been there,” he said.

BTW, both Ryant and Krause have shut down their Facebook accounts in the wake of the incident, and I’ve found few traces of either of them on other social media. None of those traces indicates a propensity for vigilantism.

Ryant was limited in what he could tell me due to his pending legal issue—the misdemeanor brandishing charge. In addition to Krause, whom he’d only met recently through Facebook, he was accompanied by one man he knew from his church and two men he hadn’t met before.

On Friday, June 23, at around 9 p.m., the five men took two cars, Ryant’s and Krause’s, and began cruising the Slide Place area for transient activity. Ryant told me that they encountered several transients on their rounds as well as the police. They prayed with a couple of the transients. Ryant gave RPD the following account after the incident, which officers responded to at 1:15 a.m. Saturday, June 24:

“Upon entering the camp, a transient male subject became angry because he [Ryant] shined a flashlight on him. The transient pulled a knife, at which time he [Ryant] pulled a handgun and backed out of the situation. Several transients came out of the bushes, at which time they ran back to their cars.”

The homeless man told police a slightly different version of events.

“While officers were talking with Ryant, a homeless man approached officers and said Ryant threatened him with a pistol during the incident. The homeless man denied having a weapon. He said he was merely coming out of the bushes to see what was going on after hearing a disturbance in his sleeping area.”

RPD took the homeless man’s word over Ryant’s, charged Ryant with misdemeanor brandishing and seized his firearm and ammo for evidence.

“The court system will try my case, and I believe I’ll be vindicated,” Ryant predicted.

He reiterated that he feels bad for the homeless, and while maintaining his actions were done with good intentions, they were wrong-headed.

“I hope that Mr. Miller recovers from his injuries,” he said. He urged everyone to calm down. “I want this whole thing to disappear and it’s not going to go away if we keep feeding the fire.”

Bryant Krause could have driven straight across the Cypress Street bridge and gone home. Instead he went down by the river.

Bryant Krause could have driven straight across the Cypress Street bridge and gone home. Instead he went down by the river.

Driving While Impulsive: The Bryant Krause Story

I wasn’t able to get in touch with Bryant Krause before Two Bikers Down was published, but if I had, this whole unfortunate affair might have been avoided. Krause and I are both diehard motorcycle enthusiasts, and surely his former love for stunt riding would have come up, and that might have reminded him his driving license was already hanging precariously by a thread, and then he might never have driven back to Smile Place a week after the first alleged attack.

Krause, it turns out, has one of the worst driving records I’ve even seen. Strike that. It’s the worst. In fact, it’s criminal. Beginning sometime around 2008, after he turned 18, he began accumulating tickets for excessive speed, riding wheelies, drifting and various other reckless acts on motorcycles, as well as warrants for failing to appear in court and failing to pay fines.

Between 2008 and 2014, he’s listed in the Shasta County Superior Court database more than a dozen times for criminal driving infractions.

“Yeah, I used to do wheelies and all that stuff,” he readily admitted when I finally did get in contact with him last Thursday. It started with a Kawasaki Ninja 636 sport bike; eventually he owned three bikes, to better evade the police, a plan that failed to come to fruition, to say the least. Eventually, he reached 32 points on his driving record. The most I’ve ever had is 1. He wound up losing his license and spending slightly more than two years locked up, split between jail and home confinement.

“I think I drive really well,” he said rather nonchalantly, noting that he can do things ordinary riders can’t do, like wheelies and drifts, with relative ease and safety. “But in the eyes of California, I don’t ride well.”

And then, recalling the potential trouble he’s facing now—police have threatened to charge him with vehicular assault, but have so far not filed the charges—Krause broke down sobbing.

“I worked so hard to get out of it,” he said, referring to the trouble his former career as a stunt-riding hooligan had gotten him into. “Now … this really sucks.”

He was sobbing during that eclipses, and continued to do so throughout our conversation.

Krause said he has retained a lawyer and couldn’t talk about the second incident at Smile Place. But he was willing to talk freely about the first incident, in which he alleges a couple of hispanic transients pushed him down on his motorcycle and pummeled him in the street.

He left Shameless O’Leary’s shortly after midnight on June 16, riding a blacked-out custom Harley-Davidson Low Rider, a far cry from the sport bikes he once favored. He could have driven straight across the Cypress Street bridge to his home across the river, where his significant other and two children were waiting for him.

Instead, he took a detour on Park Marina Drive, for what reason I didn’t get a chance to ask him, because Krause talks really, really fast and is difficult to interrupt. Many of the details he told me were exactly what he told the police, the two hispanic-looking males, one with a teardrop tattoo under his eye; the tipping over of the Harley, the threatened knife in the neck.

But the way he described the incident to me sounds more like a misunderstanding than an out-and-out deliberate assault. As he was passing them by, he said one of the men accused him of almost striking their female companion with his motorcycle, who was standing nearby. Krause stopped and replied to them. That’s when the fireworks began.

Did Krause take a short detour along the river road on his on his way home from Shameless O’Leary’s to pull some stunts on his motorcycle, almost hit a transient and set the whole thing off in the first place?

Bryant Krause visiting Ryan Rhodes in the hospital. Rhodes in now home in Burney recovering. You bet he's grateful.

Bryant Krause visiting Ryan Rhodes in the hospital. Rhodes in now home in Burney recovering. You bet he’s grateful.

I didn’t get a chance to ask him, because he’d already clammed up by the the time I thought of the question. But that’s probably the most plausible-sounding explanation I’ve heard for this whole somewhat sordid affair.

The one silver lining is Two Bikers Down and this story, its sequel, remain cautionary tales, after all. Sure, a few transients got roughed up and two concerned citizens discovered taking the law into your own hands can have serious consequences.

But at least nobody died.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Jerry says:

    Thank you for the rest of the story.  Good work.

  2. Avatar Cate says:

    Drama. We all need to stop.

  3. Avatar Denise says:

    I can’t even.

    It has struck me that vigilante activity is a wild but possible natural consequence once people congregate on FB, all concerned about crime in areas of our city.

    No one seems to know what to do about all this, me included. But I’m pretty sure going down to a camp at twilight should be left for police to do on an as needed basis.

    Your article helps me realize when we see these dark posts going off road we should take a minute and report them. This thought process needs to be denounced.


    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Denise, I do not advocate reporting questionable posts unless it’s really, really, really bad. The problem is where do you draw the line? What you can do is not respond to shit posts that you think are funny, because it only encourages them.

      I think we all know what to do about the problem here in town: We’ve got to get some facilities to house and care for some of these people, the mentally ill who can’t make it and the criminals who won’t follow rules.

  4. Avatar Theodore lidie says:

    Mediocre article. Rat patrol is a fake troll site that is inactive quit falling for it.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      R.V.’s article says it’s a troll site.  The RAT Patrol site says it’s a troll site.  You are revealing that the Golden Gate Bridge is painted orange.  Thanks, Mr. Obvious.

      Beware those who cry, “Fake news!”  Like the POTUS, their goal is typically to obfuscate.


  5. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I guess in the past I’ve gotten weepy, too, when my idiotic behavior has threatened to significantly derail my life.  For the most part, other people reacted to my grief appropriately: “Stop your sniveling. You made your bed.  Deal with it.”

    Ryant, for his part, is saying and doing exactly what I’d tell him to say and do if I was his lawyer and my goal was to preserve his CCW permit and his gig as a CCW trainer.  According to R.V.’s article, on the night of the incident he says he prayed with a couple of transients.  Is that why took a stroll in a homeless camp with a gun and three other armed men in the post-midnight hours? To pray with transients? I may have been born yesterday, but I pulled an all-nighter and feel well-studied and prepared to call bullshit when it’s shit from a bull.

    “He (Ryant) reiterated that he feels bad for the homeless, and while maintaining his actions were done with good intentions, they were wrong-headed.”

    And what were those good intentions, exactly?

    :::crickets chirping:::

    If I was on a jury, I’d also want to know why he took down his Facebook page. You do that when there are damning posts you want to hide, right? You do that if you don’t want the world to know who your associates and associations are.

    As four Krause……he obviously has a long history of being an irresponsible man-child.  Well past time to grow up, dude.  By a good five years, at least.


  6. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Let me guess….Krause is the kind of guy that takes a stick to a Hornets’ nest and then blames the bees for stinging him!….. I got some really good advice as a young man…. “Fear those that have NOTHING to lose”…..heading out to Rouse some homeless guys, is, going to get someone really hurt!

    They are Just Trying to Survive!

    If Ryant is charged with Brandishing a weapon…..we can then start calling him “Former” CCW instructor! He gives everyone a black eye that legally carries if that is the case!

    Two “Hispanic” Men knocked him off his bike and roughed him up?…..I smell the scent of prejudice in the air….Does he know Sheri?

    90-95% of the homeless I have seen in our area are Caucasian…most if not all with drug or alcohol problems….and many with Mental Health issues……

    And to all those that feel the need to Project all this Anger onto the homeless….LOOK in the Mirror…..because what you Hate about them….is what you HATE about yourself!

  7. Avatar S.B says:

    We have a very complex problem here in Redding, with chronic homelessness, freshly released parolees with absolutely no game plan set up for them to facilitate reentry into society, and a Titanic sized heroin issue. For one reason or another, Redding has become a very attractive destination for those living a marginal existence, akin to San Francisco attracting hippies and wayward youth in the 60s.  Citizens have become frustrated with the skyrocketing theft, assult, take over of recreational areas once enjoyed by families, open air drug consumption with no fear of arrest, dirty needles everywhere, panhandling, the list goes on. The city has apparently turned a blind eye to our issues and have laid off or cut services vital to public safety. I don’t condone the vigilante justice, but people are fed up.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      We had a Chief of Police who insisted repeatedly that a single thing would help him address the problems you describe: Money.

      We have a citizenry who voted down the ballot measure to provide that money, because they don’t trust the gum’mint, and because they like new taxes even less than they like the crime and blight.

      We have a City Council and had a City Manager who were unable to persuade the voters that they’d use the funds created by the proposed tax as promised—and to my recollection didn’t try very hard to make that case.

      We have a small but vociferous group of do-gooders who insist that that the homeless are blameless victims of fate, when in fact a large fraction of them are clearly sociopathic dirtbags.

      We have a medical/pharmacological industrial complex that eagerly fed a growing opioid addiction problem in America until it got completely out of control and a (perhaps overreaching) crack-down occurred, leading directly to a heroin epidemic.

      Finally, we have a significant fraction of the citizenry who believe that tactics like hazing the homeless, including threatening the use of firearms, is a valid approach.  “I’m a Christian—that’s why I’m out after midnight looking for trouble in a homeless camp with a gun on my hip.”

      It’s a toxic stew, innit?

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I’m surprised I haven’t been criticized for my characterizations of the transients in this piece. I was being hyperbolic on purpose, but also, on the day I was there, those were the stragglers, the slowest and sickest of the heard, the ones who are too far gone to save. BTW, both the subjects of this story pulled the Christ card, and I’ve got no problem with that, I understand the general principles, which underly the moral theme of this story.

  8. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Having More Money will help the problems but by itself won’t cure the entire situation.

    Until we can keep them in Jail and Rehab them…it’s the same old – Catch and Release as fishing!

    The city of Redding Residents Did “Just say No” to more taxes…..so it is up to the “Leaders” to come up with a Solution to getting more money into the coffers….

    There is a small group of citizens that love to Project onto the Homeless….but fail to realize…the Homeless are the evidence of an effect…..not the cause…..

    Some of the Greatest Hypocrites call themselves “Christians”….they voted Trump in with his Lies….with his Behaviours of Deviance…..wanting now to Cut Services to the poor  and the mentally challenged and make Mandatory Minimums the rule again (sessions)….so we get MORE people like this on the streets in the future instead of working on the “Cause” of why it is happening in the First Place!

    Can someone show me in the Bible where we are Supposed to turn our backs on the less fortunate???….I believe Jesus had a simple Message….Love “Everyone”….help…. those less fortunate…..

    If we get to “An Eye for An Eye”……sooner or later….we will ALL be Blind!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      “Homeless are the evidence of an effect…..not the cause…..”


  9. Avatar grammy says:

    What saddens me is that the homeless situation has affected Redding like 9/11 did to the USA.  The lack of respect to businesses is causing some shops to shut their doors.   Shops are having to hire security guards to protect the shoppers that want to come in (Safeway on Cypress, 99 Cent store, and now Costco has one in the parking lot, to name just a few.)

    I do not know the answer (to controlling the situation) but thankful everyday that I am not among them.  It is to bad that a homeless building can not be built in the burned out building on 273.  But most that need it can not go in the doors.  No drugs or liquor limit a lot from entering.  Add to that the amount of days that you are allowed to sleep there (then they have to find somewhere else to sleep until they qualify again.)

    No one has come up with a solution to the homeless situation without attracting more to the area.  Permanent housing isn’t one, there are already to few roofs for the renters of Shasta County.

  10. Avatar trek says:

    There have been countless studies, forums, brainstorming ideas on the homeless population in Redding. Some studies have been proven to work in other cities and states. The problem is COR will not even try and implement some of the better proven remedies. As I read the news from my out of state home it’s like reading the same news from 5 years ago not much has changed in the way COR handles the homeless problems.

  11. Avatar Lazlo57 says:

    Social media seems to fan the flames of outrage. I always try to take that information with a grain of salt.

    Knee jerk reactions are just too easy to do. I realize that most things posted on Facebook are just one persons view, and there is usually more to the story that meets the eye.

    Yes homelessness is a issue here, and our geographic location has been a factor. So has our legal system and mental health system. Many of the homeless I’ve encountered fall into those categories. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m sure it’s not violence.

    I think we all need to take a common sense approach here. Don’t walk trails alone, don’t leave things visible in your car. Be aware of your surroundings.

    I also think our city’s and county’s leaders need a more common sense approach. Less emphasis on retailer’s parkinglot displays, and more on people living in bus stops and illegal encampments along our trail systems.

    I love our city and want it to flourish not flounder. I think we all want that.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      “I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m sure it’s not violence.”

      I’m sure too.

  12. Avatar Jennifer Scarborough says:

    I feel it is important to clarify that KRCR News Channel 7 did not run with the story “two bikers taken down by hispanic transients” story that R.V. refers to as being covered by “local media” in this article. We noticed the rather large inconsistencies from the very beginning and as we started fact checking it, our sources confirmed that the story being told by the second motorcyclist was inaccurate. There has been (and continues to be) a fair amount of misinformation on social media regarding this story and our refusal to run it, and so I want to make sure that we are upfront about what happened and why. Also– this is some great reporting, R.V.! Thank you! 

    • Avatar Anita Brady says:

      Bravo, KRCR. Action News did darn-it.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Thanks for your comment Jennifer, it helped tie up a loose end for me. When I was interviewing the subjects of this story, they mentioned that they’d been interviewed by KRCR. While I was researching the Two Bikers Down story, though, I couldn’t find anything on KRCR about it.  ActionNewsNow appears to be the only “local media” that ran with the story. In both my stories, I’m implying that it was plural, more than one, but apparently only one station ran it. Although, I will note, that the Record Searchlight was still repeating the Two Bikers Down meme in their reportage of the second incident (before they were aware of my story).

      Also, thanks for the compliment. It was very exciting, as a 57-year-old journalist, to run across such an unusual story!

  13. Avatar Royal Burnett says:

    The Homeless population has exploded in the last 10 years. I’d like to know what attracts them to this area. Is California Department of Corrections dumping inmates here ? Is the Mission with its many programs the attractant? We can’t simply cede portions of our City and our way of life to the homeless. South City Park and the library have become undesirable, businesses are closing and crime has increased.

    Why has the Sheriff made no move to reopen the Annex  on Bresslauer Way ? Why has the basement of the jail not been utilized to house prisoners? Why has the City PD made no move to start a citizen patrol of non sworn officers on the River trail ?   Why does the City and the County Board of Supervisors and Council allow the Parole Department to recommend the library as the cooling station when its too hot or a place to go to recharge ankle bracelets?

    Our Parks and open places have become gathering points for these vultures. We should not allow them to degrade our quality of life, they must be made to comply with our standards.

    • Avatar nombre says:

      If there is no other place to go, and maybe you are one of the “vultures”, and maybe a long shot, are trying to get your difficult life back together – then it would be very helpful to have the library open to get a drink, recharge ankle monitor, maybe use internet to improve you own situation, etc.

      I use the library maybe monthly, and these people have never threatened or bothered me.  And they have paid the same amount as I have to use the facility (other than negligible taxes).  Sure – there are a few bad apples here and there that could ruin the experience for others, but that could happen anywhere – at a gas station, school, airport, whatever.  Until the city and/or county comes up with a decent solution, these people (vultures) should be allowed public access just like any other citizen.

  14. Avatar nombre says:

    I have decent experience on a dirt bike, and some on a street bike/cruiser – but probably not enough to claim that I am a legit biker.  (dirt bike though I could likely hold my own against a few…).

    Anyway – this whole story seems like it is just a bit off, where a guy on a bike was jumped and pummeled by some bystanders (homeless Hispanics, per the story).  If you are on a motorcycle of any type, you have a serious advantage over anyone around you that is on foot.  I am unable to replay the this story in my mind, as the rider would have had to be sitting there for some time talking/observing.  Also, he would have had to NOT react immediately when the guys came at him, but sat there a for bit.  Anyone that I know that rides a motorcycle could (would have) taken off immediately and be out of the area in .5   –  the only way this could have gone down is if he sat there conversing with them, and then did not hammer down and immediately take off.   I do not know, as I was not there – but someone that is at his level of experience with bikes should have been able to boost out of the area unscathed…

    Huge shout-out to R.V. for his excellent reporting and research on this situation.  There is no other local media of any sort that can touch this level of detail, aspect, and different facets to a story.    The RAT Patrol reference was good – I like the photo of the jeep doing a wheelie down a sand dune, the guy in the back firing at the enemy…

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      You bring up an excellent point nombre. If it had been me on the motorcycle, I would not have stopped and conversed with a couple of people who just came out of the weeds in the middle of the night.

      Thanks for digging the level of detail. It’s the main reason why I still write longform in a shortform age.

  15. Avatar G says:

    I would like to believe somewhere between each story is the truth,and have had somone throw bottle and slurd obsenities at my son who was not homeless and was riding a bike in over 100′ weather last year or when he was walking to school,

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      People need to remember, when you’re throwing a bottle at a person from a car, the speed of the car is added to the bottle and you can quite possibly kill someone that way.

  16. Avatar Mike says:

    All I wanted to do was go fishing along the bank of the river in the area of Smile Place. It’s actually very good access to the river except for the hostile campers in the area. Really didn’t appreciate their vocal attitude when I entered their encampment while looking for access. Do I really need to be harassed when I have a right to fish the river? I don’t think so. That seems to be an ongoing theme in our city. The illegal campers have more rights that we do. What do you think about that Steve Towers?

    • Avatar Mike says:

      In fact, let me clarify, there is public access to Smile Place. So why is it known as an area “to stay away from”. We, the taxpayers, paid for it, so why is it ok for the illegal campers to claim it as their own and verbally deter us taxpayers from stepping foot onto public property. I’m ready to stand our ground in mass peacefully.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Mike, you are 100 percent correct. Camping at Smile Place is illegal, and you seem to be willing to put up with it, as long as the illegal campers let you fish in peace. This seems to me like a perfectly reasonable trade-off.

      The problem is, many of the people stuck down there have lost all ability to reason.

  17. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    Superb article R.V.  Oh my gosh…I was reminded of a young friend who is convinced he is a great driver…but has wrecked more cars and motorcycles than anyone I know.    There is immense value in honesty and sticking to the truth.  Your article captures the confusion  created by misinformation  and intentional disinformation.  Thank you.


    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      There’s a huge difference between being fast and skilled on a motorcycle and being a good driver.

  18. Avatar conservative says:

    The San Francisco Chronicle recently published a special report on homelessness.  Google “beyond homelessness”.

    One of the section headlines reads “Despite money and effort, homelessness in SF as bad as ever”  another “Oakland: City faces bleak prospect of entrenched homeless camps”  Oakland has 100 homeless camps shown on a map.  The whole special report took me over 15 minutes to read.  The numbers are similar for Sacramento.  Wish I could post a link.

    Homelessness is a statewide issue.  It is spreading from metro areas to the rest of the state.  County seats have it worse because the services make them more attractive.

    I don’t think replacing city council members or the police chief will help.  Building more jail space will not help; if some move away to avoid the possibility of incarceration, more will take their place.    At the rate California is creating homeless people and attracting them from other states,  Redding’s homeless population will continue to grow.  The homeless are highly mobile and make rational choice to live wherever the pursuit of happiness takes them.   As homelessness continues to grow in Sac and the Bay Area, it will continue to grow here.  Shasta county has abundant habitat ideal to be homeless.  It does not have the heat of metro Phoenix where 130 people died of heat in 2016.  It does not have the zero degrees of Reno where the RGJ reported a homeless man lost both feet to frostbite.  The Shasta county seat has more places with water and suitable campsites than the Butte county seat, the Yuba county seat or the Humboldt county seat.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      You’re correct conservative, geography and temperature play a huge role in the size of our homeless population, both here in Redding and California in general.

      By all accounts, SF and Oakland are nightmares right now when it comes to homeless and transient crime. Yet I bet if you polled those two cities, they might now cite homelessness as the No. 1 problem, where he we might.

      I think they can hide it better in the cities, just because they’re larger, and it’s easier to disappear the problem.

  19. Avatar Richard Christoph says:


    Thanks for the info and here is a link.




  20. Avatar cheyenne says:

    The homeless Point in Time count taken in the middle of winter, here in Wyoming there are minus wind chill factors, should be done twice a year.  Summer is here and the homeless/transit numbers have really climbed as they enjoy temps between 70 and low 90’s.  In the winter they head for warmer areas and return in summer.  Cheyenne gets a count of around 500 homeless in the winter but in the summer I would say that count could increase at least 1o times more.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Wow, that’s pretty impressive, 500 in the winter and 5000 in the summer! I’ll bet the locals notice that!

      • Avatar cheyenne says:

        We do notice.  Though many would be called in the past hobos.  There are many “Walkers” who travel the roads in their lifestyle and there is even a yearly walking convention in Steamboat Springs.  I talked to a few and they just travel from spot to spot, some take advantage of free services while others stay in motels.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          The youngsters who you refer to as “walkers” are also known as “travelers.”

          One of them, Chris McCandless, was profiled in the book “Into the Wild,” by Jon Krakauer.  The book was adapted as a movie by Sean Penn.  It didn’t end well for McCandless, owing largely to a foraging mistake caused by faulty plant identification, paired with a failure to account for spring snowmelt.  McCandless was a journal writer and penned a detailed account of his own demise.

  21. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Thank you, -Conservative, for sharing and for Richard sharing the link to the article!

    Some Key take aways from the Article-

    Shelters/Housing/Mental Health/Police!

    We can learn from other areas and what is being done if we are smart…..

    It appears that the homeless numbers have edged up a little in the areas of the report….so even with these resources…..it’s not getting any better!

    I agree with much of what you have presented but not ALL of them make a “Rational Choice to do much of anything”…….I would say that the ones on the hard drugs are in the ” Survival Mode”……and that Trumps the Rational mode……hence the crime rate going up to get that next fix etc!

    The City and the County have the CHOICE to move forward and have some good Funding available by saying YES instead of No ( Yes to Prop 64 and Yes to new jobs and permit fees and tax revenues)…..to Address the above 4 items pointed out in the article….the question is…..Will they?

    So Conservative…..what is YOUR Opinion of how to Cure this? What is your Idea(s) to combat this issue?

  22. Avatar Common Sense says:

    How One Non Profit is helping the Homeless and Less Fortunate in S.F. Started by Francis For Coppola the Producer/Director, this Non Profit, has made a Difference in the lives of many in S.F.

    “We are a community based non-profit organization that utilizes the strength of the neighborhood to effectively address the needs of homeless and low-income citizens through an innovative collaboration of residents, merchants, police, and service providers.”

    We can Learn from the Successes of other areas!

  23. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    “Instead, he took a detour on Park Marina Drive, for what reason I didn’t get a chance to ask him, because Krause talks really, really fast and is difficult to interrupt.”

    Well, that question goes to the crux of the issue and you didn’t ask because, what again?

    “I didn’t get a chance to ask him, because he’d already clammed up by the the time I thought of the question.”

    Got it, I think.  No, I don’t get it because you said “… But he was willing to talk freely about the first incident,”

    And then you go on to provide a reason for Krause riding there “to pull some stunts on his motorcycle” and claiming that this is “probably the most plausible-sounding explanation I’ve heard for this whole somewhat sordid affair.”

    Is that really the most plausible explanation that you’ve heard?  Who is saying that besides you?  Aren’t you the first to report that this might be an explanation?

    Pretty wishy washy stuff, but then again, this was just a “somewhat sordid affair”.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      My thought process was like this Larry Winter: As he was talking, I realized he was taking on more responsibility for being where he was that night. I tried to interject a question, but he kept right on talking. By the time he was done, he said he couldn’t talk any more, because of his attorney. I could have described this a little better, as you note. I agree, it’s kind of a weak ending.

  24. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    They form a gang , you form a  gang , next thing you have a war.  Soon the thing escalates beyond control.  In my youth in  Baltimore I got invited to a neighborhood gang war (not my turf) but that of a friend .When we rolled out across a vacant lot we were facing machine guns, and of course we ran.  Gangs in Baltimore in the 50’s were common mostly small a low tech but damn scary if you were on the receiving end.  My point being if you think forming a gang to attack the homeless the obvious outcome is they will form a bigger gang and the good times will not roll. people will die and some will go to jail and the homeless problem will still be there.


    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      That’s something I really hadn’t though of Sr. Homeless gangs. I’m sure they already exist.

  25. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Some of the Homeless “Canners” are extremely “Territorial”…..I did a video 20 years ago on a Homeless Man here in Redding. His name is Roland B Horn….he went by “Buckhorn”…..he was on the Hilltop route…that was HIS territory….every morning he would dumpster dive and get 3 carts worth of cans and bottles in shopping carts and take them into the recycler.

    He says….”If anyone messes with my Route…..there will be hell to pay!…That’s my Territory…the Hilltop Drive area!

    He died prior to me being able to interview him the last time….died of Exposure under the old Cypress street bridge!

    It was going to be a  Documentary for School Kids….. “Just stay in School”…….he addressed the need for kids to stay in school and get an education in the last interview….He was quite a Character……He was a “Viking” as he called himself……

    Today is different…today…they break a car window for a $2.00 item to sell for their drugs!