Medford man will stand trial in I-5 shooting incident

Skye Kinkade
Albert Anthony Smith

The Medford, Ore. man arrested for initiating a shootout with law enforcement officers on Interstate 5 last year will stand trial in a Shasta County courtroom.

Albert Anthony Smith, 42, was bound over for trial during a preliminary hearing on April 10, said Shasta County Deputy District Attorney Curtis Woods, who is handling the case. On Monday, his trial date was set for Aug. 28.

Smith has been held on $5 million bail since his arrest on Oct. 27, 2011.

He faces 100 years in prison to life in prison if convicted of all 25 charges against him.

Though at first, Smith was charged with 11 counts of attempted murder of a police officer, Woods said that number changed to 10 after he realized one of the officers involved was not in immediate danger during the shooting.

Smith has pleaded not guilty. He is being represented by San Jose attorney Esau Herrera.

Smith was shot five times in the body and at least once in the face when he reportedly opened fire on law enforcement officers with a Chinese-type automatic rifle on the afternoon of Oct. 27. According to police reports, Smith led officers on a 50-mile chase on I-5, which began at the Oregon border and ended when a spike strip disabled his GMC Safari van near Castella.

Four California Highway Patrol officers from the Mount Shasta office, including lieutenant Joseph Micheletti, sergeant Anthony Gummert, officer Brian Hoskins, officer Michael Barham and Eric Degraffenreid, as well as officer Eric Mallory from the Yreka office and Shasta County Sheriff’s deputy David Eoff returned Smith’s fire. None of the officers were struck, with the exception of CHP K-9, Edo, who had one toe removed.

During a hospital bedside interview conducted when Smith was recuperating from his wounds the day of the incident, he told Redding Police Department investigator Michael Woods he may have been “crazy or insane” at the time of the shooting, but that he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, according to a report from the RPD.

He also said he remembers hearing sirens and seeing the flashing lights of officers attempting to pull him over on I-5, but was too scared to stop, according to he report.

Smith reportedly told police he wanted to “run and hide” and that he’d obtained the gun from a friend who owns a pawn shop and owed him money.