The Ridgecrest Police Department has released an account and details about Thursday's shooting incident involving suspect David Carl Park. (Editor's note: The DI mistakenly identified the shooter as David Parks in earlier stories.)
Parks barricaded himself in his travel trailer at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds Thursday morning. Officers were called out to the park at approximately 9 a.m. Feb. 6 for a welfare check on Park. Park had only recently moved into the trailer park after suspected marital problems. According to a release from the RPD, Park refused to cooperate with officers and exit his trailer. Then officers heard a gun being cocked and a then shot fired.
This prompted law enforcement to cordon off the area, lock down nearby schools and the rear entrance to the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake.
According to the press release, Park fired more than 40 rounds from his trailer; 34 exit holes were counted on his trailer following the incident. He shot directly at officers and indiscriminately, according to the press release and from an earlier interview with PRD Chief Ron Strand.
Park was charged with multiple felonies including attempted homicide, negligent discharge of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a firearm on a person, shooting at an inhabited dwelling/vehicle, threaten with intent to terrorize, and a sole misdemeanor count of resist, delay or obstruct an officer.
Park, 53 from Ridgecrest is currently being held on $3.8 million bail. He is scheduled to appear in the East Division of Kern County Superior Court in Ridgecrest at 9:01 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.
There is still no answer as to why Park became combative, no details to point to what set him off, or, as Strand said on the day of the incident, Park knows why, but as for the rest of us, "We may never know."
According to the release, officers from the RPD were dispatched at 8:58 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, to 520 S. Richmond Road Space 21 to conduct a welfare check on David Park.
"When the officers arrived on scene, they contacted Park inside his travel trailer. They requested Park exit the trailer and talk to them, but he refused. While the officers were trying to get Park out of the trailer, they heard what they believed to be a shotgun rack. The officers then heard what they believed to be a gunshot from inside the trailer," according to the press release.
This prompted all forces to converge on the scene, including additional RPD officers and detectives, Kern County Sheriff's Department deputies, and California Highway Patrol officers, and a perimeter was set.
The press release and story continues, "While the officers continued to try and get Park to surrender, Park started shooting out of the trailer toward the officers. The Kern County SWAT team was contacted and requested to assist. While waiting for SWAT to arrive, Park continued firing out of the trailer in the direction of officers."
The Desert Empire Fairgrounds trailer park and staff and employees on scene were evacuated by bus out of the park. Law enforcement maintained the perimeter, "as they continued to talk to Park." Volunteers from Police and Community Together and the Community Emergency Response Team assisted law enforcement in keeping traffic away from the area and blocking off any entrance or exit to the grounds.
The closures kept people out of the area for their own safety. Park was rumored to be heavily armed and with long-range rifles, so he possibly had a very large range and field of fire. The shots were contained to the park and a neighboring building. "As a result of Park shooting from the trailer, two motor homes, a camp trailer, a Ford van, and Hocketts Building Supply (907 S. Richmond Road) were struck by rounds."
Kern County SWAT showed up and contacted Park, but Park continued to shoot from inside the trailer. "Eventually Park exited the trailer and was taken into custody," the release said.
According to the press release, during a search of Park's trailer, "Detectives located a 7.62 x 39 SKS rifle, 30-06 rifle, 12-gauge shotgun, .45-caliber handgun, .40-caliber handgun, and several rounds of ammunition. Park fired approximately 40 rounds during the incident and 34 exit holes were located on the outside of the trailer."
During this incident Gateway School, Burroughs High School, and the back gate of the NAWS on Richmond Road were placed on lock down until Park was taken into custody.