Firefighter shot while on duty in California

Jacob Kirkendall
Jacob Kirkendall

A wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service was shot December 11 while driving a vehicle in Monterey County, California. The victim, Division Chief Peter Harris, was shot in the neck and ear. Even though he was wounded, Chief Harris was able to provide a description to a 911 operator.

Below is an excerpt from an article by KSBW:

The suspected gunman was identified as 25-year-old Jacob Kirkendall of Santa Cruz.

Kirkendall led Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies and Fort Hunter Liggett officers on a chase through the Army post while he was driving a red pickup truck.

Law enforcement authorities opened fire on Kirkendall’s truck, and bullets struck the driver’s side door, according to scanner traffic.

Kirkendall sped off, officers lost sight of the pickup truck, and the gunman slipped away for several tense minutes, according to scanner traffic. [With help from a CHP helicopter] Kirkendall was eventually found, arrested, and taken into custody. The Sheriff’s Office declined to discuss a possible motive, and would not comment on why Kirkendall was in south Monterey County.

Harris was taken to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, and he is expected to be OK.

Kirkendall is being charged with attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Ken.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

8 thoughts on “Firefighter shot while on duty in California”

    1. While there’s no excuse for his criminal actions, I hope he receives the opportunity to get treatment for his mental illness. My preference would be to not be at the expense of the taxpayers, but that case is clearly out the window now.

      1. I suspect that the largest contributing factor in his mental health will turn out to be abuse/addiction to methamphetamines. His incarceration might actually be the best thing for him at this point! His behavior, the paranoia, aggressiveness and nonsensical rants are a common trait in people who abuse such substances. As a retired police lieutenant who spent 5 years as a DEA task force agent, I witnessed such behavior first-hand. Nothing will raise the hairs on the back of your neck like a run-in with a meth-addled, authority hating individual at 3:30 in the morning! Unpredictable doesn’t even begin to describe the experience.

        1. He chose to take the meth… Nobody forced it on him. His reaction and consequent results are all HIS fault from the start. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law… and if the laws aren’t strong enough, then make them stronger! There is no excuse for this behavior but the world seem to be feeling sorry for him because of his ‘problems’ in his life. Bahooey!

    2. I am certain that that will happen. What usually happens in incidents like this is that the County/District Attorney’s Office will file a motion to have state/city charges dismissed and the US Attorney will file and take the case information before a Grand Jury and they will Indict him on a plethora of charges. I am sure they are having conversations about doing just this with the prosecutors in Monterey County.

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