A 54-year-old Salinas man is facing charges in Humboldt and Del Norte counties in connection with an armed robbery and carjacking in Blue Lake that turned into a five-hour standoff with law enforcement at the Crescent Beach Motel on Saturday.
Law enforcement arrested Jeffrey Clair Gatlin without incident at about 2:30 p.m., according to a California Highway Patrol news release. Following Gatlin’s arrest officers seized a shotgun, according to the news release.
The suspect had barricaded himself in the motel at about 9:24 a.m. Saturday, according to CHP Officer Brandy Gonzalez, prompting law enforcement to block traffic on U.S. 101.
Gatlin is in custody at the Del Norte County Jail currently on charges of vehicle theft, strong-arm robbery, carjacking, obstructing/resisting a public officer and failure to obey a peace officer, according to the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office Online Information System.
Gatlin will face additional charges in Humboldt County, said Samantha Karges, public information officer for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident began in Blue Lake at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday when Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the gas station at the Blue Lake Casino, according to a news release. Deputies learned that a white male adult entered the gas station with a firearm and demanded the money in the cash register, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
The subject left with an undisclosed amount of money and tried to carjack a customer outside the gas station, according to the news release. The subject was approached by Blue Lake Casino security, brandished the firearm in their direction, and fled on foot before successfully stealing another vehicle, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
At about 8:59 a.m., law enforcement officers responded to a call from a Yurok Tribal police officer who was following a stolen vehicle northbound on U.S. 101 in Klamath, according to a CHP news release. The driver was wanted in connection with the armed robbery and carjacking in Blue Lake, according to the news release.
CHP officers and deputies with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop Gatlin, according to the CHP. But when he failed to yield, officers deployed a spike strip north of Sandmine Road on U.S. 101. The suspect swerved to avoid the spike strip, ran off the roadway, exited the vehicle and began walking along the northbound shoulder.
According to the news release, Gatlin allegedly attempted to carjack several vehicles, but was unsuccessful. He fled on foot and entered the Crescent Beach Motel where he raised his weapon in a threatening manner toward a civilian bystander and law enforcement personnel, according to the news release.
Officers fired at the suspect, giving the civilian time to safely flee the area. Gatlin then allegedly barricaded himself in the motel.
After a standoff that lasted several hours, law enforcement entered the motel and arrested Gatlin without further incident, according to the CHP press release. The suspect was not injured and there were no injuries to law enforcement, according to the press release.
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