On Thursday, 12/6/2018, at 5:26 AM a Redding Police Officer was on patrol in the area of South Market Street and South Bonnyview Road when the officer saw what was believed to be a stolen grey, 2013 Honda Civic. The Honda appeared to have plates attached to it from a newer Honda sedan. The officer attempted a traffic stop on the Honda in the area of South Bonnyview Road and I-5. The vehicle sped away from the officer southbound on I-5 and stopped in the area of southbound I-5 and Knighton Road. A female occupant exited the vehicle and laid on the ground as the Honda sped off. The Honda continued to flee from the officer southbound I-5 ultimately exiting in Cottonwood at the Gas Point Road exit. The Honda traveled east on the overpass of I-5 and continued northbound on I-5 toward Anderson.
Deputies with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Officers with the Anderson Police Department and California Highway Patrol responded to assist with the pursuit. A deputy with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office deployed a tack strip in the area of northbound I-5 and Riverside Avenue, Anderson. The tack strip was successful causing the driver side front tire of the Honda to deflate and the Honda continued northbound on I-5.
Two Redding Police Officers were behind the Honda when it abruptly stopped on the shoulder of I-5 just south of the Knighton Road exit. The driver and sole occupant, later identified as Benjamin David Larson age 42 of Redding, immediately exited the Honda and began firing a handgun at the officers. Both officers returned fire at the suspect who got back into the Honda.
Officers from the Redding Police Department utilized an Armored Rescue vehicle to approach the suspect inside the vehicle who was not responding to officer’s commands to exit the Honda. Those Officers ultimately utilized less lethal bean bag rounds and a Redding Police Canine to remove Larson from the vehicle. Medical personnel were on scene and pronounced Larson deceased.
The Shasta County Multiagency Officer Involved Critical Incident Protocol was activated and allied agencies responded to assist. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Major Crimes Unit took over the investigation. During the subsequent investigation; the Honda was confirmed stolen from the Redding area. A handgun was located in the driver’s area of the Honda where Larson was seated. No officers or bystanders were injured from the gun fire.
The female passenger from the suspect vehicle was located a short time later at the T/A truck stop. She was transported to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Major Crimes Unit where she was interviewed by detectives and investigators. She was not injured during the incident and was Larson’s girlfriend. The involved officers were placed on paid administrative leave. The names of the involved officers may be released at a later time.
Larson has been wanted since November of 2018. He had outstanding warrants charging him with violation of parole and vehicle theft. The vehicle theft case stemmed from the June 6th, 2018 theft of a van containing 14 show dogs which occurred in Redding.
An autopsy on Larson will be conducted next week. Anyone with information about this investigation is urged to contact the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Major Crimes Unit at 530-245-6135 or [email protected].