Southbound Interstate 5 was closed for 10 hours on Thursday while law enforcement investigated an officer-related shooting.

Albert Anthony Smith of Medford, Ore., age 42, was shot multiple times after confronting officers with an assault rifle on I-5 near Castella at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, said Sergeant Al Mellon of the Redding Police Department in a press release. The Redding PD is leading the investigation.

No officers were hurt in the incident, however, a California Highway Patrol?K-9 dog was hit in the lower leg, Mellon said in the release.

The shooting followed a chase that led CHP officers the span of Siskiyou County.

Yreka area CHP Public Information Officer Nick Black said Thursday that the department received a notice to be on the lookout for a black GMC Safari van with dealer plates driving the wrong way in northbound lanes near the Oregon border.

CHP identified the vehicle, now in the proper lanes near Ditch Creek, and attempted a traffic stop around 11:30 a.m. The vehicle continued to drive at some points getting to speeds of 90 miles an hour, according to scanner traffic.

Mellon said CHP officers deployed spike strips on three occasions, finally succeeding in halting the vehicle approximately one hour later near Castella.

“Officers conducted a high risk vehicle stop and ordered the driver out of the vehicle,” Mellon said in the report. “When the driver emerged from the vehicle, he confronted officers with an assault rifle. Seven officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect.”

Mellon said Smith sustained gun shot wounds in the upper torso and face. CHP officers on scene administered medical aid and Smith was flown to a local hospital by a CHP helicopter.

As of 11 p.m. on Thursday, Smith was in critical condition. His injuries are not considered life threatening, Mellon said.

The K-9 was transported to a Mount Shasta veterinary clinic and is currently in stable condition, Mellon said.

Two marked CHP vehicles were also struck during the exchange of gunfire, Mellon added.

Investigation revealed that six of the seven officers involved in the incident are CHP?officers from the Mt. Shasta and Yreka offices. The seventh officer is a Shasta County Sheriff’s deputy, said Mellon. The identities of the officers are not being released at this time.

The Shasta County Multi-Agency Officer Involved Critical Incident Protocol was initiated to investigate the incident.

As officers did their work near I-5, traffic was snarled for hundreds of miles, from Pollard Flat north to Mount Shasta.

Backroads like Azalea Road between Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir became regular thoroughfares and little-used offramps were clogged with traffic as motorists were turned around without explanation to find other routes south.

Castle Rock Elementary School went into lockdown mode for about 15 minutes right around the time the shooting was taking place just one freeway exit away.

Superintendent Mark Telles said the school was not contacted about the incident, but heard about it from a local emergency responder. When he called the CHP?and heard the immediate danger was under control, the school began wondering how they would get their 80 students home with I-5 at a standstill.

“It was a difficult situation,” Telles said. The bus ran about a half hour late getting kids northbound, and some students who normally stay until 6 p.m. as part of the school’s afterschool program were driven home by teachers and staff members.
Others stayed at friends’ homes because their parents couldn’t get to the school coming south.

“I’m very impressed with the staff, parents and community effort,” Telles said. He added that on Friday, there was 100 percent attendance – a good sign that children feel safe and secure at school.

Telles said some of the children riding the bus did see the GMC Safari with what appeared to be bullet holes in the windshield.

“I’ll be going to classrooms today to see if any of the students were affected by that,” Telles said. “It is a concern and we’re monitoring that, so if someone’s upset, we can get them help.”