Thursday Jul 29 2010
Shots fired at forest worker
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Two arrested in unrelated gunfire incident Tuesday
Three suspects were still at large today after a U.S. Forest Service employee was shot at while installing signs in the Tahoe National Forest northeast of Auburn. The forest worker was inside a vehicle when the shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon and was not injured, Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Westling said today. Three people were involved in Wednesday’s shooting, according to information released by the Forest Service. The Placer County Sheriff's Office mounted a search for the three people and blocked off access to an area near Sugar Pine Reservoir, 9 miles north of Foresthill. The air and ground search ended after just more than three hours at 8 p.m. Wednesday with none of the suspects in custody. Westling said the male forest worker was unable to give a good description of the three, who were not in a vehicle. The nearby Sugar Pine Campground was not evacuated during the search and normal forest activities were continuing today, Westling said. It was the second shooting incident in the Foresthill area in as many days. Wednesday's shooting incident followed the arrest on Tuesday of two people in Foresthill after shots were reportedly fired into the air from a car but no one was injured. Officer David Martinez of the California Highway Patrol said the Foresthill incident took place near the Cal Fire station but the location was not connected to the shooting. “It had nothing to do with the fire department,” Martinez said. Westling said there was no evidence she knew of to link Wednesday's shooting to Tuesday's shooting incident in Foresthill. The employee was putting up signs related to the current fire danger in the forest, she said. No similar shooting incidents have taken place in the Tahoe National Forest in the recent past but they have occurred in other national forests, Westling said. There was no information available on a motive, including whether the three were attempting to keep the employee away from an possible illicit marijuana grow, she said. Taken into custody from Tuesday’s shooting were Kerstin Moman, 20, and Joshua Lemas, 31, both of Foresthill. Both were in a 2010 Dodge Challenger when arrested by highway patrol Officer Eric Karla. They were facing felony charges related to carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle, firing from a vehicle and assault with a deadly weapon. Martinez said four spent casings were found in the vicinity of the Foresthill shooting after the incident Tuesday afternoon.