Three men were arrested in Mendocino County after an alleged kidnapping related to a marijuana deal, the sheriff’s department said.
The pursuit of the men took several hours and ended after one of the suspects shot himself in the head in a remote wooded area. One of the captives was also shot, apparently by a kidnapper.
The first report came at 10 a.m. Sunday, when an officer from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spoke with a man on Covelo Road near the community of Longvale. That man said he had been the victim of an armed robbery 20 minutes earlier by three or four men who had fled in two pickup trucks.
Shortly after hearing the report over his radio, a sheriff’s sergeant on routine patrol 40 miles away saw two pickups matching the description — a Chevrolet Tahoe and a Toyota Tacoma.
On eastbound Highway 20 east of Lake Mendocino, he attempted to stop the Tahoe. The driver refused to stop and fled at speeds over 100 mph, then made a U-turn on the highway and took a dirt road into the wooded hills. The sergeant, fearing an ambush, stopped the pursuit.
While deputies were setting up a perimeter, they heard gunshots and screaming, and two men emerged from the woods. One had been shot in the shoulder.
The men told officers they had been captives — their heads covered and their hands bound by zip ties — of two men in the Tahoe. When the truck became stuck on the dirt road, the two captives fled, and that’s when the one had been shot, they said.
The wounded man was taken to the hospital. A multi-agency SWAT team and a helicopter were brought in to assist in the search for the kidnappers near the disabled