Rambling, conspiracy-filled “manifesto” discovered after shotgun-wielding Yreka man causes hostage crisis at Rain Rock Casino

YREKA, Calif., — Authorities have credited employees at the Rain Rock Casino in Yreka for their “quick thinking and brave actions” in keeping casino-goers safe during a potential hostage crisis involving a shotgun-wielding former employee who confronted guests and employees Saturday morning, March 12. According to official accounts, a manager at the casino was able to distract the armed man, while security officers and other casino workers quietly worked to evacuate citizens off the casino floor to safety.

SCNS has since learned that the man now accused in the terrifying ordeal, Billy Joseph Sonntag, 33, of Yreka, made a long and rambling social media post last November that he reposted two days before walking into the casino with a shotgun that included extensive claims and allegations of ongoing illicit drug sales, use, and trafficking by casino staff members, as well as other criminal activities alleged against many of his former co-workers.

His lengthy manifesto titled “Organized Crime in Yreka Statement”, (which can be viewed in its entirety below), also included claims of mind control, targeted acts of food poisoning against him at the hands of several Yreka area fast-food restaurants, extortion, mass shootings perpetrated by Manchurian Candidate-style government induced and controlled shills, body snatching of family members he felt were replaced by alternate persons, and more. The rambling post also touched upon other popular conspiracy theories and well-known government experiments such as MK Ultra, Chemtrails, and Havana Syndrome, as well as other covertly organized targeted attacks he said have been aimed at discrediting or even killing him.

Sontagg also has a Youtube channel, including two self-posted videos with titles such as “Yreka Conspiracy?”. The videos include allegations similar to those found in his manifesto, which go on to name many of his friends, family members, and now-former co-workers as conspiring against him.


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As previously reported by SCNS, at just after 11 a.m., City of Yreka emergency dispatchers began to receive multiple calls reporting that a man armed with a shotgun had just entered the casino.

911 callers also reported that the man, since identified as Sonntag, was seen carrying a metal box into the casino before leaving the box near the front entrance after being confronted and contacted by security officers.

While the casino’s manager accompanied the shotgun-toting former employee to the location’s security office, other casino staffers quickly and quietly worked to evacuate citizens off the casino floor and out a back door to safety, Yreka PD has since said of the incident and subsequent arrest.

Seen in a Facebook photo he posted, Billy Sonntag was arrested after walking into his former place of employment, Rain Rock Casino in Yreka, while carrying a metal box and armed with a shotgun. Billy Sonntag / Facebook

When the first two officers arrived at the scene, they “were quickly able to contact the subject and casino manager,” YPD went on to explain, saying, “Sonntag complied with the request to put down his shotgun and was detained and placed in handcuffs without further incident.”

As more officers converged on the scene, officials turned their attention to the metal box Sonntag had carried into the casino. After requesting additional resources to the location to deal with whatever may have been inside the box, California Highway Patrol, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Special Response Team (SRT) and Explosive Ordnance Demolition (EOD) teams responded to assist with further evacuations, clearing of the casino and surrounding area, and rendering the mysterious box safe.

After securing and “neutralizing” the box, EOD experts determined it had only contained “papers”, but officials have declined to specify if the box had contained printed copies of Sonntag’s manifesto or what those papers may have contained.

Based on their subsequent investigation, officers arrested Sonntag and he was later booked into the Siskiyou County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, and carrying a loaded firearm in a public place.

“Due to the seriousness and severity of the case”, officials say Sonntag’s bail was set at $1 million and online jail records indicate he remains in custody.

“We would like to say thank you to our allied agencies for their quick response and help during this incident,” YPD has since said.

“To the casino staff, you have our gratitude and respect,” they continued, adding, “Because of your quick thinking and brave actions no one was injured.”


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In the wake of Saturday’s crisis, Rain Rock Casino released a statement to social media that shared more about the incident.

“The Karuk Tribe and Rain Rock Casino wishes to express their gratitude to Yreka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and Siskiyou County Sherriff’s Department for their quick response that resulted in what can only be described as the best possible outcome,” the social media post read in-part.

“We would also like to thank our guests for quickly and efficiently following the instructions of our Team Members, ensuring a safe evacuation,” the statement continued, adding, “Finally, we thank our Team Members on shift at the time of this incident.”

Casino officials went on to say that the business provides annual training “for situations such as this”, and added, “When the time came to act, (our employees) recalled their training and performed far beyond expectation.”

Rain Rock Casino has remained closed since the incident, with plans to reopen on Tuesday morning, March 15. The closure was intended to give each of the casino’s employees time to be contacted by crisis counselors “to ensure their well-being, as their mental health is just as important to us as their physical health.”

Rain Rock’s post went on to encourage any guests involved in or impacted by Saturday’s ordeal to contact Siskiyou County Behavioral Health Crisis Services at (800) 842-8979 to speak with a counselor.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Billy Sonntag/Facebook post – 11/28/2021

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS), which act as stringer-news providers for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

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.