Shasta County shooting suspect who live-streamed pursuit arrested

LAKEHEAD, Calif. — A Bakersfield man who led officers on a pursuit from Northern Shasta County to just outside Red Bluff is in custody after surrendering to authorities Wednesday afternoon, July 29. He was apprehended after fleeing the scene of a domestic violence related shooting at a Lakehead RV park, according to officials.

During the pursuit the alleged suspect, since identified as 31-year-old, Charles Leland Blankenship, live-streamed at least two videos to social media, while talking about trying to turn his life around and the incident that led to the shooting.

During the live-stream videos, both of which had been viewed nearly 20,000 times as of this report and can be viewed below, Blankenship repeatedly became emotional and started crying. At other times he can be heard railing against and screaming at his family, who were trying to convince him to either give up to pursuing officers or try to come home if he could make it.

Blankenship could also be heard begging his mom for advice, while a handgun could be seen sitting in his lap.

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Shasta County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Lake Shasta Pines RV Park on the 19000 block of Solus Campground Rd. around 3:30 p.m., after receiving reports of a shooting, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Koenen has since said of the incident and arrest.

When deputies arrived they found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound, according to Koenen; who said Blankenship had fled the scene prior to deputies’ arrival.

A Kern County man was arrested after allegedly shooting a woman during a domestic violence related altercation. Before and during a subsequent pursuit, the alleged gunman live-streamed videos to social media while talking about his life and what led to the shooting. KRCR News Channel 7 image

The shooting victim, whose name has not been released, was treated at the scene before she was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Two small children who were at the scene when the violent confrontation and shooting occurred were uninjured during the incident, according to Koenen.

As the shooting investigation was getting underway, deputies began searching the area for Blankenship and notified CHP and other area law enforcement agencies to be on the look out for the gunman, who fled the scene in a silver Toyota Tundra.

CHP soon spotted Blankenship heading southbound on Interstate 5 and attempted to stop the vehicle, but he initially refused to pull over.

During the first of his live-streamed videos, which began before officers located him, Blankenship could be seen with a substantial head injury, and blood was seen pouring down his head, face and neck, and soaking into his shirt.

As the live-stream continued, Blankenship asked those watching his video to stop trying to call him and speculated that he might end up getting shot by law enforcement officers.

During that first video, Blankenship claimed he shot the victim after she attacked him with an unknown object, which was later described by witnesses as a metal pipe or hammer.

In response to someone urging him to go to a hospital for his injuries, Blankenship responded, “I aint going to the hospital man. I’m not just gonna give up.”

“I gotta at least run till I run out of gas,” Blankenship continued; while saying he had less than a quarter tank of gas and had no money to refill his tank.

At one point during the more than 10 minute long first live-stream video, Blankenship can be heard answering a question from his grandmother saying, “Yeah, I did grandma… Yeah I hurt her,” as he began to cry.

The video then ended as Blankenship received yet another phone call.

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During a second live-stream video, Blankenship indicated officers had begun to pursue his vehicle and he could be heard saying, “The cops are on me you guys. Yup. Here we go, spread the word, they’re on me.”

“I’m not speeding though,” Blankenship continued before beginning to break down and cry while saying, “I just love you guys.”

Just before the video abruptly ends, the fleeing man could be heard pleading, “Mom, what do? Mom…do I pull over?”

While Charles Blankenship, 31, of Bakersfield, was being pursued by CHP officers he could be seen with a substantial head injury; with blood pouring down his face and neck. Charles Blankenship live-stream video images

At around 4:15 p.m., official radio traffic indicated Blankenship pulled over; and he was taken into custody without further incident, according to Koenen; who said a firearm, reportedly a 38 caliber handgun, was recovered at the time of the stop.

“Blankenship was found to have injuries received during his altercation with the victim and was also transported to a local hospital for treatment,” explained Koenen.

After being treated for his injuries, Blankenship was booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, felon in possession of a firearm, using a firearm during the commission of a felony and child endangerment, according to Koenen.

Online jail records indicate Blankenship remains in custody in lieu of $75,000 bail or bond.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who witnessed the altercation that led to the shooting and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to contact Shasta County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 245-6000. Callers can refer to incident file number 20S023128 and can remain anonymous.



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.

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