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Man Terrorized For Years Seeks Triple-Header Restraining Orders Against 3 Controversial Men

Steven King inside the new Shasta County Courthouse. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Steven King showed up early for his Tuesday 8:30 a.m. hearing in a sixth-floor gleaming hallway at the brand new Shasta County Courthouse. He stood near a large bank of windows that offered stunning Redding views as he talked about his feeling of confidence that finally, he’d see some measure of justice after having been bullied, threatened and terrorized for years by a group of well-known Shasta County men.

A word about King

King, who can be outspoken and profane, is renowned for sometimes sending lengthy, bizarre emails, and exhibiting unregulated verbal outbursts. Consequently, he is often banned from social media chat groups, including this website. He acknowledges that he’s unpopular with many ultra-right individuals and groups.

However, these very characteristics have made King an easy target. Over the years his tormenters have learned that law enforcement may not be inclined to respond to King’s 911 calls for help, or take him seriously, because when riled and scared, King becomes a highly agitated and difficult caller, even for trained emergency dispatchers who may give up and move on to other calls.

So the pattern began where bullies would show up at King’s place to taunt and verbally torment him, activities made especially enjoyable for them because King could react loudly and strongly. The more upset he became, the more satisfying the torment was for the perpetrators.

The tormenting trio

Among the alleged assailants identified by King were Carlos Zapata, Jesse Lane and Richard Gallardo. All three are far-right notables. All three are militia members.

Zapata is best known as one of the co-founders of the Red, White and Blueprint docuseries. Zapata is also recognized as the owner of the Palomino Room bar and restaurant in Red Bluff, the owner of a bull business in Palo Cedro, and the co-owner of a Florida strip club.

Lane made a name for himself as a co-founder of the Stake-in-NorCal militia group. He also has the dubious distinction of writing one of the first public threats on social media about this reporter at the start of the pandemic and Shasta County’s foray into civil unrest .

Gallardo has a checkered reputation as someone who failed at an attempted mass citizen’s arrest upon an entire board of supervisors, as well someone who’s a rabid Second Amendment advocate who was fired from his Cal Fire job for brandishing a weapon at work, and whose mission for Shasta County is open carry.

As reported by A News Cafe in September of last year, Steven King first contacted A News Cafe the previous year to report repeated harassment by several well-known far-right men. King hoped that a story about the harassment would bring the terrorism to the attention of the Redding Police Department, and that he’d be left alone.

But King cancelled the interview out of fear of retaliation, and a desire to protect his landlady and neighbors. Consequently, the story wasn’t told then about how Zapata and others allegedly showed up at King’s trailer, shook it with him in it as they yelled that they’d burn the trailer with King inside.

King experienced other unwelcome visits at the trailer park where he lives in north Redding, such as the arrival of Jesse Lane who showed up in an idling pickup outside King’s trailer.

Militia member Jesse Lane outside Steven King’s mobile home. Photo source: Video screen grab

Then, in early September King contacted A News Cafe again, this time, following an incident outside King’s trailer by someone he identified as Richard Gallardo.

Richard Gallardo shines his flashlight into Steven King’s trailer while yelling threats.

King said that as Gallardo yelled and flashed a light inside King’s trailer, King recorded the incident. What followed was King’s heated expletive-laced confrontation of Gallardo.

Gallardo later claimed the voice and the image in King’s doorway was not Gallardo, but perhaps an AI creation.

It was after the Gallardo incident that former Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller told A News Cafe that from now on, RPD would just show up at King’s place if he called 911, rather than trying to communicate with him on the phone.

‘We might have paid him a visit’

Regarding Zapata’s involvement, King was a topic of discussion in a Red, White and Blueprint podcast episode during which the panel described King as — among other things —  a whack job, a horrible person, and a piece of shit.

“He always backtracks,” said Zapata after one of the show’s guests said King apologized for previous comments.

“Especially if you show up at his house,” said a smirking Woody Clenenden, Cottonwood Militia leader.

“Yeah, we might have paid him a visit,” said a smiling Zapata.

The men laughed.

It was during that “visit” that King claims Zapata and others threatened to burn King’s trailer down with him in it.

King also had a screenshot of a threatening text message from Zapata to King. The telephone number was one confirmed by A News Cafe as belonging to Zapata.

“Consider yourself dead,” said Zapata’s late-night text to King.

 

Because of all those incidents and others, King filed civil harassment paperwork with Shasta County Superior Court for a trio of restraining orders, one for Zapata, one for Lane and one for Gallardo.

In addition to King’s triplet restraining orders, Lane had filed his own restraining order against King with allegations related to Lane’s children. King claims Lane’s accusations are false; that Lane had created fake King profiles in an attempt to implicate King in things he didn’t do.

Tuesday the men’s restraining order hearing was held inside a courtroom presided over by Judge Stephen H. Baker.

Zapata, Lane and King were present. Gallardo was not.

From left, Carlos Zapata and Jesse Lane listen as the judge speaks. Richard Gallardo, who was also scheduled for the same hearing, was not present. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Judge Baker explained that the hearing was not a time to present evidence. However, he said evidence could be weighed at a subsequent hearing next month.

Before Judge Baker could finish speaking, Zapata expressed his extreme aggravation that photos were being taken by this reporter.

Carlos Zapata.

Judge Baker then explained that in the spirit of transparency, media is allowed to be present inside the court chambers, as long as the appropriate paperwork had been completed and that media had received permission and court instructions beforehand.

Zapata also asked why, if King’s restraining order against Zapata had been dismissed in January, why Zapata was still obligated to show up at the March hearing.

Judge Baker said that although he wasn’t telling Zapata what to do, it was possible that evidence could be brought forward at the next hearing regarding Zapata; evidence Zapata might want an opportunity to hear and refute. However, if Zapata wasn’t there, and if the judge deemed evidence convincing enough to grant a restraining order, then the previously dismissed restraining order could become active, and Zapata would not be there to speak to the charges.

Lane piped up with a comment out of left field that he was most concerned about the restraining order coverage causing harm to his children, and the possibility that their names would be publicized.

Within a few minutes the hearing was over. The judge issued a new date with the guess that the next hearing could last a few hours.

Following the hearing, outside in the hallway again, King appeared upbeat. He said he felt hopeful that he would be granted restraining orders against Zapata, Lane and Gallardo.

“I feel good,” he said. “I have all the evidence. I just want those guys to leave me alone.”

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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