Man arrested after causing extensive damage to Mount Shasta City Park building
New Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District administrator Shannon Shaw was close to tears Thursday morning as she surveyed damage to the city park’s historic Dance Hall building. After weeks of renovations, a Mount Shasta man broke into the building sometime after 10:30 p.m. on July 1 and caused thousands of dollars of damage.
Suspect Stephen Bouw, age 48, was arrested Thursday morning after a short standoff with police and booked into Siskiyou County Jail on felony vandalism charges on $20,000 bail.
The damage to the building is estimated to be between $10,000 and $20,000.
MSRPD maintenance supervisor John Zanni said he heard someone screaming near the building when he showed up for work Thursday morning at about 5:30 a.m. Zanni said he was going to confront the man, but instead decided to call 911.
Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine said when an officer arrived onscene, Bouw was discovered outside the building yelling and screaming, “claiming he was going to burn everything down and that everyone was going to die.”
The MSPD, with the help of the California Highway Patrol formed a perimeter around the building and retreated, as “it was clear that (Bouw) was having a mental health crisis,” said Restine.
MSPD requested assistance from Weed Police Department and Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Special Response Team and considered summoning Shasta County’s SWAT team if the situation escalated, said Restine. However, when Bouw went inside a closet and resumed his work to pull up the floorboards, “the team saw an opportunity to take him into custody safely.”
A taser was deployed and Bouw was arrested just before 8 a.m. and taken to Mercy Mt. Shasta to be cleared before booking, said Restine.
Bouw wasn’t unknown to the MSRPD staff; he has had run-ins at the City Park before, said Shaw.
Damage to the building, which was built in the 1930s, include dozens of shattered windows and paint splattered on floors and walls. A section of original hardwood flooring was splintered and pulled up. The building’s storage areas were ransacked and some of the kitchen cupboards had their doors pried off, among other damage.
The timing was particularly painful, Shaw said, since the Dance Hall was set to reopen that evening after being closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hours of work had just been completed to renovate the building, Shaw explained – the floors had been refinished and waxed, the interior had been freshly painted and the kitchen and bathrooms had been deep cleaned.
The MSRPD has plans to renovate each of its historic buildings as funding allows; they concentrated their efforts on the Dance Hall first, Shaw said.
The extensive damage puts plans to a halt to reopen the building, which is regularly used by Shasta Taiko, ballroom dancing lessons and Ecstatic Dance.
MSRPD board member Renee Casterline, who hurried to the City Park Thursday morning to survey the damage before cleanup could begin, said the break COVID-19 provided had the “silver lining” of allowing time for renovations. She said the damage was a setback for the district and a big blow since funding is tight.
“There’s been a lot of attention to detail at this facility over the past three months,” said Shaw, who took over for longtime administrator Mike Rodriguez April 1. Her first few months have been challenging – first a global pandemic, and now this.
Those who would like to assist the MSRPD with repairs are welcome to make donations to a dedicated fund at Shasta Regional Community Foundation. Go to https://www.shastarcf.org/donate and select “Mt. Shasta City Park” in the dropdown menu.
This story was updated to correct the spelling of suspect Stephen Bouw's name and to reflect that the Weed Police Department also responded to the incident.