Arcata Police give update on weekend fatal shooting

ARCATA – Arcata police held a press conference Monday afternoon to give more details on Saturday’s fatal officer involved shooting.

Arcata police and Humboldt State University police were called to the Arcata Plaza early Saturday morning on reports of a disturbance. Officers learned of a gun shortly after arriving to the and went over to the vehicle with the suspect , 26 year old Ervin Eugene Sweat Jr. from Tennessee. Sweat exited the vehicle, pointed a .40 caliber semi-automatic Smith & Wesson at the officers and began firing. Two rounds were fired, one striking HSU officer Louis Altic in the right thigh. The officers then returned fire, hitting Sweat 9 times. Life-saving efforts immediately began on Sweat who was then transported to mad river community hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In today’s press conference Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman reported that Sweat has a history in the area dating back to 2014. He has two felony arrest warrants, one in Santa Barbara and one from Fortuna Police Department. The gun Sweat fired was retrieved from the scene and is reported to be stolen from a local sporting goods store in 2015.  Officer Altic was hospitalized, treated, released, and expected to make a full recovery. Altic has 12 years of law enforcement experience, and has been with the University Police for the past 2 years.

The investigation is being led by the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team which includes, the Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County District Attorney Investigators, Fortuna Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the Department of Justice Crime Laboratory.

On Sunday Arcata’s Mayor, Susan Ornelas, issued this statement concerning the shooting… 

“This morning’s shooting on the Plaza is very disturbing. Our community is again shaken with violence and the trauma of great injury and loss of life. The City appreciates the support that Humboldt State University provides to patrol the downtown on busy weekend nights. Our hearts go out to the injured University officer. The job of protecting our community can be dangerous and difficult.

I am deeply grateful for the commitment that our peace officers make to our community every day and night. As Mayor I will continue to work with the community to find solutions to reduce crime on the Plaza and restore safety for all our residents. This will include working with the City’s Public Safety Task Force and the meetings the Council will hold on student safety starting this Wednesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

There will also be a community-initiated meeting on Plaza safety this Thursday, September 14, at 6 p.m. at the Jam, located in Arcata on the corner of 9th and H Streets.”

This investigation is still on going. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Arcata Police Department, (707)822-2446.