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'Unfortunate failure of rehabilitation': 22-year-old Weed man sentenced to 11 years in prison

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News

A 22-year-old Weed man that committed "increasingly disruptive crimes" and failed to abide by terms of probation was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in state prison.

Cavonte Amaru Gary Shumlia was sentenced on 19 separate charges – including a September 2020 pursuit that reached 120 miles per hour – and probation violations from two previous cases, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

“We never want to send a person this young to prison unless they effectively close off all other avenues,” Andrus said of the case, which he called an "unfortunate failure of rehabilitation."

On Sept. 30 of last year, Shumlia fled from Lake Shastina Police Department officers when they tried to pull him over for a routine traffic stop, Andrus said. 

Cavonte Amaru Gary Shumlia

Andrus said Shumlia’s “reckless driving endangered dozens of other drivers” as he raced on roads going over 120 miles per hour. The pursuit took place, Andrus added, while local law enforcement officers from many agencies were responding to a fatal house fire in Weed's Carrick Addition.

Andrus said several officers had to leave their duties at the fire to assist with the pursuit and to and set up a roadblock on Hoy Road north of Highway 97. 

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As Shumlia swerved around the roadblock, he drove directly toward a Weed Police Department officer who had to leap out of the way. A short time later, Shumlia drove into the Angel Valley subdivision and abandoned his vehicle, leaving two passengers behind.   

After briefly hiding in the rear seat of a truck, Shumlia was found hiding underneath a house on Railroad Avenue approximately an hour after the pursuit had begun. He left behind four pounds of processed marijuana in the truck he was driving, as well as methamphetamine in the truck where he later hid, Andrus said.

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On Dec. 1, 2020, Shumlia pled guilty to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, recklessly fleeing a pursuing officer, and resisting arrest. He also pled guilty to four misdemeanor violations for this event, including possession of marijuana for sale and prohibited use of a police scanner to escape arrest.  

Shumlia also pled guilty to numerous other charges from crimes committed in the weeks before the pursuit.

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On Aug. 1, 2020, a Weed Police officer was investigating a theft and attempted to arrest Shumlia on an outstanding felony warrant but he escaped out a window, Andrus said. 

On Aug. 22, Shumlia fled from Weed Police officers on Alamo Avenue in Weed, running through backyards and leaving a backpack containing a improvised firearm, or "zip gun" and a spent shotgun shell.

On Aug. 28, a Weed Police officer saw Shumlia in an alley and attempted to arrest him on the arrest warrant but Shumlia ignored commands and ran, Andrus said. Three days later on Sept. 1, Shumlia was found hiding in a car and was placed under arrest but escaped by swinging an elbow at the officer’s face.

"He fled and was able to evade an attempt to subdue him with a taser," said Andrus.

On the same day, officers served a search warrant at Shumlia’s Weed home, where they found another zip gun "that appeared to be under construction from three pipes of sufficient diameter to fit a shotgun shell."

In these cases, Shumlia pled guilty to two felony charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and 10 misdemeanor charges, including several counts or resisting an officer, as well as escape, possession of a short barreled shotgun, possession of a zip gun, and concealing evidence, Andrus said. 

When these events took place, Shumlia was on felony probation, Andrus said. He had been placed on probation in June of 2019 for grand theft and two counts of vehicle theft.

Shumlia had been given the opportunity to complete a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, but after 18 days he voluntarily left treatment and did not report to his probation officer.

"This was his third violation of probation and produced the arrest warrants that the officers were attempting to serve in the Fall of 2020," said Andrus. 

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For the five new felonies Shumlia was sentenced to 11 years in state prison, Andrus said. He had 153 days in jail at the time of sentencing. His prior felony probations were terminated unsuccessfully, and he received county jail sentences on the 14 misdemeanors. 

“We can appreciate that he did not want to go to jail but fleeing officers while putting lives in danger only compounded his problems and reduced his opportunity for further efforts at rehabilitation,” said Andrus. “By the time he was sentenced, there was absolutely no confidence that further efforts at probation would do anything but endanger the public.” 

Andrus recognized officers from the Siskiyou County Probation Department, Lake Shastina Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office, and especially Weed Police Department “for their tireless efforts to bring Mr. Shumlia’s behavior under control."

"Those officers, as well as the prosecutors who genuinely wanted to try to move him in a positive direction, were just looking for better decision making," Andrus said. "Instead, a prison sentence is waiting. We hope that his time in the prison system will benefit him and his community moving forward.”

Correction 

In a previous version of this story, Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus was quoted as saying: "The driver of the truck – who lied to police about Shumlia's whereabouts as he hid inside – later pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of resisting or delaying an officer in the performance of their duties." This statement is false. The driver of the truck, Kenneth Richard Bonner, of Mt. Shasta was charged with those offenses. However, the case against Mr. Bonner was dismissed by the Siskiyou County District Attorneys Office.