Montana man had contact with Mount Shasta Police three times before Weed incident
Authorities are asking anyone who may have had contact with the man who was shot and killed Thursday evening by law enforcement near Weed’s Greyhound bus station to speak with investigators.
Thirty-two year old Steven Hughes Henning of Whitefish, Mont. was shot after he started a fire on the porch of the bus station, attempted to steal a patrol car and tried to injure a Sheriff’s K-9, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department.
Henning was pronounced dead on Thursday evening, Oct. 24 at the scene of the shooting, which occurred in an area adjacent to the Interstate 5 overpass near Shastina Drive in Weed, according to a press release from District Attorney Kirk Andrus’ office.
Two officers fired their weapons in the incident, including a Weed Police officer and a Sheriff’s deputy, said Andrus, whose office is leading the criminal investigation with assistance from the California Highway Patrol.
The names of the officers who fired their weapons have not been released.
Investigators have retrieved surveillance footage from the Greyhound station showing Henning’s initial contact with law enforcement and it “could be described as explosively violent,” Andrus said.
The Mount Shasta Police Department had three contacts with Henning last week, said Sgt. Robert Gibson.
On Wednesday morning, Oct. 23, the MSPD was contacted with a request from Amtrak to remove an “unruly and abusive” passenger from a train stopped at Lake Street.
Officers removed Henning from the train, but no charges were requested by the engineer for battery, Gibson said.
The following day, the MSPD received a call from Sports & Spirits regarding a “suspicious man” who was “acting strangely,” Gibson said. Henning was removed from the business, but no charges were requested.
Later that afternoon, Rite Aid called with a report of a man acting “out of control and very threatening,” yelling at employees. Gibson said Henning was again removed from the business, but no charges were requested.
“We would be interested in speaking with anyone else who may have had contact with (Henning) in Mount Shasta last Thursday,” said Andrus.
Henning’s brother, Cody, of North Bend, Ore., said his brother had mental health issues and he believes the use of deadly force was unjustified.
According to the Daily Inter Lake newspaper in Montana, in 2008, Henning was sentenced in Flathead County District Court to six years of probation after he led Whitefish Police on a high-speed chase through downtown.
The Daily Inter Lake also reports that Henning was arrested twice in Dec. 2007 for allegedly threatening his parents with a sledgehammer and stealing a handgun and a pickup truck.
Siskiyou County law enforcement had been searching for Henning, who was reported to have started a fire on the wood porch of the Weed Greyhound station on S. Weed Blvd. earlier in the evening, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
During the encounter, Henning refused to extinguish the fire and “aggressively and violently resisted arrest,” by a WPD officer, the release states.
“During the progressively escalating altercation, the suspect jumped into the officer’s patrol unit and attempted to steal the police vehicle,” the release states.
The officer used pepper spray in attempt to subdue Henning and a “volatile struggle” occurred inside the car, according to the release. The suspect then exited the car and fled the scene after picking up the officer’s taser, which was dropped to the ground during the struggle.
An immediate perimeter was established and a search was initiated by WPD and CHP officers and Sheriff’s deputies, said Andrus. Henning was located in a state right-of-way area near the overcrossing.
“The level of violence exhibited by the suspect escalated,” according to the Sheriff’s Department, and he attempted to injure a Sheriff’s K-9. The deputy and officer discharged their firearms. The suspect was struck and killed.
Andrus said both the officer and deputy have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is “routine and standard procedure” after an officer-involved shooting incident.
Many in the Weed community reported hearing commotion and some heard the gunshots Thursday evening.
Kobi Mills, who lives near the Greyhound station, said “all kinds” of police were out in front of the station at about 9:30 p.m. She heard some gun shots and she watched from her window as police searched the area on the corner of Shastina Drive and S. Weed Blvd.
Regina Weston and her husband, Steve, were driving home from roller derby practice Thursday evening and passed a CHP on Shastina drive.
“He had his spotlight out and was looking along the railroad tracks. I thought that was strange, and then we rounded the corner heading up towards South Weed Blvd. and there were cops everywhere,” Weston said. “The scariest part was not knowing what was really going and trying to explain it to a 6 year old. I cannot imagine how scary it must have been for those living right there.”
The CHP and the California Department of Justice Crime Lab (Redding) assisted with evidence collection and the processing of the scene in Weed, said Andrus. The area was still cordoned off by yellow crime tape Friday afternoon as officers with the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team investigated.
The Sheriff’s Department and the WPD are each conducting their own administrative officer-involved shooting investigations to ensure the officers followed departmental policy, Andrus said.
Anyone with information about the suspect’s actions or activities prior to the shooting, or anyone witnessing the incident at the bus stop are asked to contact supervising detective Marc Perrin of the DA’s Criminal Investigative Bureau at (530) 842-8125.