HCSO searches Freshwater area for report of gunman, two in custody
From the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On 03-06-2014, at approximately 12:50 p.m. , the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a man and woman yelling at each other at Freshwater park. The caller said they were associated with a grey truck. About the same time the call came in, a second citizen called on 911 stating they heard two gunshots in the area of the park. Sheriff’s Deputies and a California Highway Patrol officer responded to the park.
While deputies were enroute to the park, another caller told Sheriff’s Dispatch they saw a man with a shotgun walking around in Freshwater Park. Both Garfield and Freshwater Elementary Schools were notified of the call by Sheriff’s dispatch. Garfield Elementary initiated a lockdown of the school as a precaution.
The first deputies arrived at Freshwater Park at approximately 1:05 p.m., with CHP Officers and additional deputies arriving soon after. The park and surrounding area were checked with neither the vehicle or suspects located.
Two Sheriff’s cars continued up Kneeland road and located a gray truck parked along Kneeland Road, approximately two miles up from the park. A man and woman were with the truck. The deputies detained the man and woman. The truck was searched by the deputies for a weapon. While the deputies were searching the truck, Sheriff’s Dispatch told the deputies a passing motorist driving by the scene before law enforcement arrived; saw the male suspect with a hand gun and it appeared he just fired it. The passing motorist responded to Freshwater Park and showed deputies the area where he saw the shots being fired. Deputies located three spent 9mm shell casings on the ground at the entrance of Freshwater Park.
The deputies who searched the truck located a loaded 9 mm semi auto handgun under the hood of the truck, wrapped in a basketball type jersey. The loaded magazine of the handgun was missing three rounds. Deputies also located a lap top computer that had been reported stolen to Eureka Police, along with approximately two pounds of dried marijuana and a scale.
The detained man was identified as William Duane Hillegeist, 31 years old and the detained woman Sara Balke, 26 years old, both reside in Eureka. They were both arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked on charges of possession of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, possession of stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Their bail was set at $25,000.00 each.
Deputies were able to determine during their investigation there was no shotgun, only a handgun.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.