Judge: Evidence sufficient to move ahead with charges
Sabrina Evanow was baking bread and cookies in preparation for the day's customers at the north Crescent City Subway restaurant when she heard the employee door open and saw a gun in her face.
Evanow, 24, testified at 33-year-old Eureka resident Zachary Scott's preliminary hearing Tuesday regarding a crime spree that started with a vehicle burglary at Elk Valley Casino on Aug. 16 and ended in a police chase north of Brookings on Aug. 27.
After the hearing, Del Norte Superior Court Judge Chris Doehle ruled there was enough evidence to proceed with 13 charges and a litany of special allegations against Scott. The charges include attempted murder of a peace officer, carjacking and armed robbery.
His arraignment is scheduled Dec. 3.
Restaurant footage presented by Deputy District Attorney Todd Zocchi showed Evanow unlocking the front doors to the sandwich shop at 7 a.m. Aug. 17 and walking back toward refrigerators behind the counter. Seconds afterward, a man wearing plaid shorts, a dark top and a white baseball cap hurried into the restaurant.
"A man came in," said Evanow, who cried as she began her testimony. "I didn't hear him because the door buzzer was broken."
The man opened the employee door.
"I was standing at the sink, he pointed a gun in my face and asked where the money was," said Evanow.
Footage showed the man crouching down behind Evanow as she emptied about $170 from the register into his bag, as well as the keys to her black Mazda sedan. He left shortly after. Evanow said the entire episode took about three minutes.
When Zocchi asked Evanow to identify the robber, she pointed at Scott, who was dressed in an orange jail-issued jump suit as he sat nextto his attorney, public defender Darren McElfresh.
When Zocchi asked how she knew it was Scott, she said his eyes as she gave him a cold stare.
"I know those eyes," said Evanow. "Pretty much all I could see was his eyes and his face" and the gun.
It was a silver handgun, though Evanow couldn't discern whether it was a revolver or a semi-automatic that Scott allegedly had stolen from a vehicle in the parking lot of Elk Valley Casino the day before.
That gun belonged to another witness who testified Tuesday.
Petite Vernon said she met Scott on Aug. 15 and the two joined another woman for a trip to Elk Valley Casino on Aug. 16.
At some point, Vernon said she gave the keys to the other woman and they wound up in Scott's hands.
Footage from the casino's security cameras show a man identified by Vernon as Scott, wearing plaid shorts and a dark top, rifling through Vernon's belongings in her car and placing things in his pockets. These included Vernon's driver's license and credit cards, she said.
Authorities say Scott also took a handgun that was used in the Subway robbery the next day before he stole Evanow's black Mazda and drove it south, where he came across Dean Baker, director of public works for the Yurok Tribe.
Baker testified he was at the Klamath Salmon Festival, which attracted about 4,000 people. He said he was near the vendor entrance off Chapman Street, with cars parked on both sides of the road.
A black Mazda turned into the entrance, prompting Baker to tellits driver to move, he testified. Baker said he could identify Scott by the tattoos on his forearms.
"He started to pull in and I said you can't park here," said Baker. "He stated he just needed to turn around."
Then Baker "heard some hollering down the street."
"It was a couple of our patrol safety officers," said Baker, describing Tribal Officer Joshua Davis and Tribal Warden Michael Gabber running toward the car.
"I heard them basically yelling commands down my direction to stop the vehicle," said Baker. "I didn't realize they were yelling at the Mazda at first."
He said Scott yelled back toward the officers, asking why they wanted him to stop.
Scott backed up, revved the engine and "took off," Baker said.
Baker said he saw Gabber jump out of the way, get sideswiped by the vehicle, spin around and then shoot. Davis who was on the other side of the street, also began to shoot, Baker said.
He estimated about five shots were fired, and that there were30-40 people on the road.
"After the first shot took place, it was a kind of a surreal thing to happen with that many people around," said Baker. "We tried to secure the location."
But the shooting attracted people and "then it was damage control," he said, adding some of the casings were picked up by children.
Scott got away, but was stopped by traffic at the Klamath Bridge, authorities have said. Scott ditched the car, carjacked another vehicle and drove to Orick before dumping the second vehicle, authorities said.
Scott came into contact with law enforcement again Aug. 20 while he was standing by a motorcycle around 11:30 p.m. near 14th and A streets in Eureka, but was able to escape down a back alley, authorities said.
He was eventually apprehended by Brookings police officers on Aug. 27 after his car broke down north of north of Brookings during a pursuit.
When he was apprehended he had injuries to his calf and thigh area, authorities said.
When Evanow went to look at her car that was being held at the Highway Patrol station in Crescent City, she found it trashed with gunshot holes dotting the exterior and blood on the driver's seat, she testified.
Reach Anthony Skeens at firstname.lastname@example.org.