Racial slur preceded Lakehead shooting that injured two, one critically

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 20, 4:35 p.m., With additional details.

LAKEHEAD, Calif. —  Two armed citizens have been credited with detaining a Sacramento man who had just gunned down two men near the Salt Creek Boat Ramp on the northern end of Shasta Lake, in the unincorporated community of Lakehead Sunday morning, April 18. After hearing gunshots in the area, the two armed citizens sought out and located the gunman, holding him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

The man was later arrested after deputies learned he had walked up to two families before yelling a racial slur and opening fire on the group, striking two of the family members.

The shooting, which officials are now calling racially motivated, left one of the victims in critical condition.

Although Shasta County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit Sergeant Kyle Wallace has said the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, citing the “active and ongoing” nature of the investigation he declined to specify the race of the victims who were shot; saying, “Additional information regarding the circumstances or language used against the victim(s) will not be released.”


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Deputies from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office South County Patrol Station were dispatched to the area at 11:37 a.m. after receiving reports of a shooting, Wallace has since reported.

“While deputies were responding to the scene, they learned the suspect in the shooting, later identified as 21-year-old, Silas Matthew Hesselberg from Sacramento, California, had been detained by witnesses in the area,” Wallace said. Those witnesses later turned out to be two armed citizens, who held the suspect at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

“When deputies arrived, they located two gunshot victims and were able to detain Hesselberg without incident,” Wallace continued.

Both victims were rushed to an area hospital for treatment of their gunshot injuries.

Although one of the victims was treated and released that day, the other victim remains in the hospital in critical condition, according to Wallace.

Authorities investigating the shooting of two people who were with their families at Shasta Lake on Sunday say the unprovoked shooting is being investigated as a hate crime after the suspect, Silas Hesselberg, of Sacramento, allegedly yelled a racial slur before pulling out a gun and opening fire on them. Shasta County Sheriff’s Office photo

Based on the circumstances, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit was contacted and took over the hate crime investigation.

During their subsequent investigation, detectives learned the victims and their families were near the Salt Creek Boat Ramp when they were approached by Hesselberg “for no apparent reason,” Wallace described.

“Hesselberg immediately called one of the victims a racial slur … then produced a handgun from his pocket and shot both victims,” the Sergeant continued.

Hesselberg was transported to the Major Crimes Unit where he provided a statement to detectives, after which he was arrested. He was later booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder and one count of Civil Rights violation.

Online jail records indicate he remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail or bond.


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Trent King from Redding later told KRCR News Channel 7 he and a friend were just expecting to enjoy a nice trip to the lake so they could enjoy the weather when they heard two gunshots.

“Well at first, we thought they were fireworks so we didn’t really react I guess appropriately. We were just nonchalant about it. When we hear the second ones and heard the screaming, we definitely got worried,” King explained.

“That’s when we pulled out our guns and proceeded to talk through what we were going to do. Whether we were going to go up there or wait for someone to come around and that’s about when he [the suspect] popped his head out and started walking towards us,” King described.

When people started yelling that the man was the shooter, King said he pulled his gun and “told the man to stay put,” KRCR reported.

“I was definitely nervous, definitely scared a little bit, not knowing if he had a weapon or if he was the one who was shooting. It all happened so quickly,” King explained.

King said he and his companion then held the man at gunpoint and called 911. They then waited for law enforcement to arrive.

“The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public, any crimes motivated by hatred or other biases will not be tolerated, they will be investigated seriously, and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” added Wallace.

Anyone with any additional information regarding this investigation or who may have witnessed all or part of the incident is encouraged to contact the Shasta County Major Crimes Unit at (530) 245-6135 or by email. Callers can refer to incident file number 21S012667 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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 30 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 18 grandchildren.